The Income Tax department continued search and survey at 18 establishments of premier ice-cream manufacturers Ramani Brothers and their real estate partners in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for the second day on Wednesday.
One of brothers owning the popular Top ‘N Town brand went underground in Bhopal on Tuesday while one of his family members tried to mislead the I-T sleuths by claiming that he had flown to Bangkok. However, prolonged investigation revealed the possibility of the businessman hiding somewhere in Bhopal.
A key IT department source in Bhopal told Hindustan Times that the family member who provided false information is likely to be booked in a criminal case by the department.
Sources said there were attempts to send two key computers out of the ice-cream factory in Bhopal’s Govindpura area in a car owned by an employee, but the I-T department sleuths seized them in time.
Data from the seized computers could hold key in determining the undisclosed income of Ramani Brothers.
Ramanis made a number of trips
Scrutiny of documents from residential and office premises of ice-cream business owner family revealed that Ramanis made a lot of foreign trips in the last few years. “It doesn’t seem that the family has missed travelling to any corner of the world,” a source added.
The raids which are likely to continue at the manufacturing units in Bhopal and Durg for two more days have also led to eight bank lockers.
Raids could expose links
According to sources, several incriminating documents have been seized which could expose links between the family, their business partners and the state’s bureaucracy.
Some documents containing mystery names of fictitious individuals could help the IT department in baring the possible nexus.
Investigations have also suggested that undeclared income from the business was siphoned by the family as income generated from their Trinity College.
Tax evasion of not less than Rs 50 crore
According to IT department sources, the search is likely to lead to undisclosed income of not less than Rs 50 crore.
Scrutiny of documents revealed undervaluation of residential property of Ramanis real estate partners in e4 area of Bhopal’s posh Arera Colony. The undervaluation is expected to be worth Rs 8 crore.
The survey also revealed a strong possibility of Ramanis joint venture real estate projects being undervalued by over 40% to the tune of Rs 15 crore to Rs 20 crore.
IT sleuths are also working to find out the value of real production cost of Top ‘N Town brand ice-creams, which too seems to have been manipulated by the owners
There was specific tax intelligence inputs on massive tax evasion
According to IT officials, there were specific tax intelligence inputs, detailed market-based information and inputs on massive tax evasion.
The IT 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.