Income tax (I-T) officials on Tuesday said they have stumbled upon 100 paintings of prominent artists, including SH Raza, MF Husain and VS Gaitonde, during raids on GTL Ltd, a network services company, in the city.
Around 300 I-T officials were involved in the raids at 45 premises belonging to the firm and its owners, the Tirodkars, in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
A senior I-T official said the 100 paintings were seized from one of the firms owner’s south Mumbai flat, where they were stacked. “We have seized paintings of Raza, Husain and Gaitonde. We will check whether all these paintings are genuine and send them for valuation,” the official said. The owner has declared neither the paintings nor the flat from where they were seized, he said.
Officers said they normally find cash and jewellery during raids. “Such a large number of paintings is unusual,” the official said. “We are finding out if the owners are art dealers.”
The raids were conducted after the I-T department found that GTL was allegedly showing bogus expenditure to minimise its profit in account books in order to evade tax.
GTL’s chairman and managing director Manoj Tirodkar is currently in Goa. “He will come on Wednesday after which we expect a disclosure of concealed income,” the official said. “Preliminary investigation suggests the concealed income could run into crores.”
A network services provider for telecom and tech firms, GTL’s revenue for 2009-10 was Rs 2,236.94 crore. Tirodkar could not be reached, and no GTL official was available for comment.