In a major move to unearth tax evasion and trace money laundering, the investigation wing of income tax department searched 20 premises of three government contractors, all involved in construction of roads, highways and toll collection, sources in the department said on Wednesday.
Simultaneous surveys were also conducted at seven premises of the firms. Searches and surveys continued till late on Wednesday night, sources said.
About 160 income tax officials accompanied by 90 policemen confiscated incriminating documents from business premises of Prakash Asphalting & Toll Highway Pvt Ltd, its sister concern Ayush Ajay Construction, PD Agrawal Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and BR Goyal Infrastructure Pvt Ltd.
Staff members at the firms were questioned at length.
According to income tax department sources, Puneet Agrawal is the promoter of Prakash Asphalting & Toll Highway Pvt Ltd and Ajay Agrawal is promoter of Ayush Ajay Construction while PD Agrawal is the promoter of PD Agrawal Construction. The promoter of BR Goyal Infrastructure is BK Goyal.
PD Agrawal group has built Indore-Dewas highway, sources said. The group also has several ongoing projects in Punjab.
During the course of the search, the search teams came across several companies which appeared to exist only on paper.
Department sources said that unaccounted money was transferred to companies that appear to exist only on paper, in a bid to hide the original money source.
"Tax evasion and money laundering go hand in hand. Tax is evaded through money laundering," said an income tax official.
This the first major search conducted by Indore office in current financial year.
Income tax authorities had received complaints against three groups for allegedly suppressing their actual income, sources said.
Apparently, the Indore office was under pressure to undertake searches and surveys as the second quarter of the financial year (September) is drawing to close.
Its apex body, Central Board of Direct Taxes has asked the department to achieve the given revenue targets.
Property brokers among those surveyed
Income tax officials also carried out surveys at the business premises of property brokers, flour mill owner and real estate developer in Rau and Khandwa on Wednesday.
According to department officials, a team conducted a survey at S-47 hotel in Rau, some 13km from Indore, promoted by realtor Manoj Sule. The team impounded documents to trace evidence of tax evasion.
In neighbouring Khandwa district, surveys were held at Nayan Agro flour mills situated on Indore road.
In addition, surveys were held at offices of property broker Vikas Chintaman Jain in Ramganj.
Income tax officials also conducted a survey at the office of property dealer Vijay Jain in Padava, sources said.
Tax officials also surveyed the office premise of Pramod Jhanwar's in Budhwar, who runs an Ayurvedic medicine outlet and a saree shop.
The income tax surveys continued till late night.