The Income Tax (I-T) department carried out extensive raids on Tuesday at residences and business establishments of premier ice-cream manufacturer Ramani Brothers at Bhopal and Durg in neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
As many as 125 I-T sleuths escorted by over 70 policemen began the search at 7 am in the residences of Ramani Brothers and their real estate business partners in the posh Arera Colony, the group’s office in MP Nagar, its manufacturing unit in Govindpura Industrial Area and other properties and shops in Kolar and New Market.
A manufacturing unit at Durg was also raided. The search is likely to continue till Wednesday.
The I-T department also conducted search at other business interests of the Ramani Brothers, spanning from Trinity College to Ishan-Windsor builders.
According to I-T officials, there were specific tax intelligence inputs, detailed market-based information and inputs on massive tax evasion.
The I-T department was monitoring exponential growth of the business group in last six-seven years, whose turnover rose multiple times from a modest `70 crore in 2009.
The group recorded 15-20% annual growth in turnover over the last few years. Counted among the country’s top ten ice cream brands, the Top ‘N Town brand has presence in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Specific information about unaccounted sales and subsequent tax evasion in ice cream business particularly led to the raids.
While no details were available about the seizures, sources in I-T department said sleuths have stumbled upon at least four bank lockers held by the group’s owners in different banks. A large amount of cash, jewellery and incriminating documents were seized, but their actual value will be known by Wednesday evening.