Sixteen teams of the income tax department descended on 15 offices of the Moira group across Indore, Dhar, Pithampur and Ghatabillod on Wednesday and confiscated a large number of documents in the investigation of alleged tax evasion of Rs 50 crore.
The Moira group has had its fair share of controversies, and was investigated on similar charges of excise duty evasion in 2011. Preliminary estimates suggest tax evasion of Rs 50 crore, but that figure could go up as the searches are likely to continue for the next two days.
Income tax officials said Jaideep Ispat & Alloys Pvt Ltd, Rathi Iron and Steel Industries, Avinash Realty, Riddhi Ispat Pvt Ltd, AVI Educational and Cultural Society, Moira Institute of Technology, Moira Business School, NICD Combine and Bharti Ingots Pvt Ltd were searched in this regard.
In addition to the ‘Moira Sariya’ head office at Laxmi Tower at MG Road, residences of the company’s directors and the group’s educational institutions and cultural societies were covered in the search. Also, a survey was carried out at the Sai Transport Company in Dhar, associated with the group.
Jaideep Ispat & Alloys Pithampur (unit II) plant manager Amit Kishanpuria confirmed that the premises were searched, but denied any wrong doing.
“Nothing wrong has been found in our records,” he told HT.
However, sources say the documents recovered in the raid reveal trails of money laundering, unaccounted stocks and cash, bogus businesses and false cash entries.
The investigation team is reported to have recovered cash, and discovered bank accounts and lockers belonging to Moira group directors and their families, which will be thoroughly scrutinized in the coming days.
The group’s directors Vimal Todi, Avinash Todi and Pavan Singhania stand to face charges under the I-T Act if the department’s suspicions are substantiated.
Second search in 4 years
This is the second time the Moira group has been raided in last four years.
In November 2011, the department of customs, central excise and service tax had carried out major raids at its manufacturing units in Ghatabillod and Pithampur and traced central excise duty evasion of more than Rs 1 crore. The matter was settled after the group paid up the previously evaded tax with interest.
The income tax department’s investigation wing on Wednesday sought details from the central excise department of their findings in the 2011 investigation.