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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Income tax officials seize R8.5 cr in cash from bullion dealer’s Kamathipura office

Manish Pachouly, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 13, 2013
First Published: 10:53 IST(13/6/2013) | Last Updated: 10:59 IST(13/6/2013)

Trouble for Prithviraj Kothari, owner of RiddhiSiddhi Bullions Ltd, seems to have escalated. The income tax (I-T) authorities claim to have recovered around Rs8.5 crore cash from one of his offices located at Kamathipura.

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“The cash was kept in the basement of the office and is suspected to be unaccounted for,” an I-T official said requesting anonymity.

The I-T department started searches on Kothari and his company on Tuesday after his name came up in the intercepted calls during the spot-fixing investigation.

The officers have also found that Kothari was running a company with a different name. It had a director who made bank transactions worth Rs1,900 crore through five banks.

“However, the company was not involved in any big business. It appeared to be for namesake,” the official said, adding that they suspected that it was used to cover up the hawala transactions.

I-T officials couldn’t record Kothari’s statement on Wednesday as he was not available.

When asked about the cash, Kothari told HT that it was bullion money and accounted for. He also refuted the I-T’s finding that though RiddhiSiddhi showed a turnover of Rs. 25,000 crore in its account books, a substantial portion of the import was bogus.

Kothari said everything was accounted for as it involves Customs, valuation and remittance.

The I-T authorities also went to the offices of Hundia Exports, dealers in gold and silver, at Grant Road and Zaveri Bazaar. Its owner, Suresh Hundia, was the president of the Bombay Bullion Association before Kothari.

I-T officials said they even went to Hundia’s residence because of his business relations with Kothari earlier.

Hundia confirmed the I-T officials’ visit. “They have some doubt and the inquiry will go on,” he said, adding that he did not know Kothari.

Hundia said he had given all the documents as required by the I-T and also claimed that the authorities found nothing.

The searches will continue on Thursday.


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