The income tax department conducted a second round of inquiry into the alleged shell companies linked to Nitin Gadkari’s Purti group on Tuesday.
Gadkari, who, by the end of the day had pulled out of the BJP presidential race, condemned the fresh inquiries as "calculated, mischievous and politically motivated".
The I-T department's act "smacks of the ruling UPA's nefarious designs to create confusion in the BJP ranks," he said.
Back in October, 22 alleged shell companies — entities which serve as a vehicle for business transactions without themselves having any significant assets or operations — were under investigation.
This time, 24 companies were under the I-T scanner. On Tuesday, I-T officials visited 11 locations belonging to these companies across Mumbai.
It was their second visit to a few of the locations. In October, they had found 17 companies registered at one of the locations. Another had five.
So far, five layers of investment in Purti group have been found, of which two have been traced to Mumbai.
“The first layer — 22 companies — was investigated in October. The registered addresses of all 22 companies in the city were found to be bogus. A preliminary report was sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes,” an IT official said. “The second layer was surveyed on Tuesday. The three remaining layers are suspected to be in Nagpur, Kolkata and Delhi, which are being investigated by the local I-T authorities.”
A statement from Sudhir Dive, managing director of Purti Power and Sugar Ltd, read, “These companies are not part of Purti group. These companies have invested in some companies of the Purti group.”
(With PTI inputs)