A search was launched on Friday to catch a “missing” Gujarati real estate businessman, who had declared unaccounted for income of Rs 13,260 crore in September when the government offered tax dodgers a chance to come clean.
The 67-year-old Ahmedabad-based realtor Mahesh Shah, whose business interests are mostly in Mumbai, is wanted for defaulting on the first instalment of the income tax for the disclosed amount.
He was supposed to pay more than Rs 1,000 crore by November 30 as part of the amnesty, called income declaration scheme (IDS).
Income tax sleuths searched different locations, including the office of Shah’s chartered accountant and relatives.
“The IT officials suspect I might have some idea about Shah’s whereabouts and where his money is parked. But I have no idea. My role is restricted to helping him fill in the form and declare his income with the IT department,” said chartered accountant Tehmul Sethna of Apaji Amin and Company.
Sethna apparently tried to contact the businessman on his multiple cellphone numbers, but couldn’t connect.
He said Shah maintained a low profile despite the millions of undeclared cash he disclosed.
The government’s amnesty had the incentive that a taxpayer’s identity would be kept secret. The scheme was aimed at bringing crores of rupees worth of undeclared money earned through illegal activities, or earned legally but never disclosed, into the mainstream economy.
But Shah’s name surfaced as he defaulted on tax instalment.