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IT sleuths raid former JK finance minister’s properties

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Wide spread raids conducted in Srinagar, Budgam, Jammu, elsewhere

Srinagar, Jun 27: Income Tax (IT) sleuths on Thursday carried out simultaneous raids at various places including eight locations linked to the former Finance minister and senor National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather in Jammu and Srinagar.

Officials said the raids were carried out on the basis of IT surveys carried out earlier in the state.

They added that a large number of business establishments including residential premises of former Finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather and some prominent business houses were raided in Jammu while offices of a businessman including eight locations linked with Rather were searched in the Valley as well.

The raids started early today and continued till afternoon, sources said.

They said records and other evidence supporting undisclosed wealth had been seized. But there was, however, no official word about the seizures made during these raids.

Meanwhile, official sources said that the Income Tax Department conducted search and seizure operations today on a prominent business group based in Srinagar, covering 4 premises in the Kashmir Valley and 6 places in the Jammu region.

Apart from the premises in J&K, 10 other business premises situated in Ludhiana and NCR belonging to parties that have actively assisted the main tax evader in concealing his income and indulging in illegal activities have also been covered under survey action, official sources said.

“The group is engaged in the business of real estate and information technology. There were allegations of large scale diversion and misappropriation of loan taken from J&K Bank by the group,” said the sources.

During the search, it was detected that the tax evader has been given illegal benefit of Rs 60 crore by J&K Bank. His outstanding loan of Rs 190 crore was settled at Rs 130 crore, although he did not deserve any concessional treatment. Additionally, even the reduced bank liability has either been defaulted by him or the repayment has been facilitated by active connivance of bank officials, who have ever greened his loan account by lending to third parties, who, in turn, gave their loaned funds to the tax evader through dubious financial transactions with him, said the sources.

During the search operation, evidence was found that the main promoter was a director in a Dubai based company. He is also holding and operating a foreign bank account. Neither his interest in the Dubai Company nor the foreign bank account has ever been disclosed by him in his tax returns, said sources, adding, “He is likely to face action under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as well as other relevant laws of the land for deliberate omission to declare foreign investment as mandated by law.”

Field enquires have also revealed that the tax evader has sold/booked part of his real estate project of Paradise Avenue near Jammu against unaccounted cash. The cash component has neither been disclosed in tax returns by purchasers of the flats of Paradise Avenue nor has he disclosed these receipts in his books of accounts, said the sources.

Other than the Paradise Avenue project, the tax evader has also undertaken real estate transactions in his personal capacity or in the name of family members wherein allegedly more than Rs 7 crore of unaccounted cash has changed hands.

During the demonetisation period, the group had made cash deposits of Rs. 1.44 crore, sources said, adding, the main promoter could not explain the source of these cash deposits during the course of search action.

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