I-T searches find unaccounted transactions of ₹1,500 crore at gutkha baron JM Joshi, son actor Sachiin’s premises
The income tax (I-T) department on Monday said that unaccounted transactions of around ₹1,500 crore have been found in their six-day-long major search operation carried out at various premises linked to gutkha baron JM Joshi and his son, actor Sachiin Joshi, who is presently under arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case.
During the search operation, ₹13 lakh and jewellery worth around ₹7 crore was seized and has been put under prohibitory orders. Prohibitory orders have also been placed on 16 lockers and 11 premises, I-T officials said.
The I-T searches and survey operations started in Mumbai on February 8, 2021.
The JMJ Group, of which Joshi is the chairman, is mainly engaged in manufacturing of gutkha, pan masala and related products, and also has a presence in the hospitality sector.
The I-T department in a statement issued on Monday said the search and seizure actions have led to the detection of foreign assets lying with a company registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), with an office in Dubai. The company is allegedly controlled and managed by Joshi.
“The net worth of the BVI company is ₹830 crore, which was created by siphoning funds from India. These funds have been round-tripped to India in the form of share premiums amounting to ₹638 crore in the flagship companies of the group,” reads a statement released by Surbhi Ahluwalia, public relation officer, I-T department.
One of the employees, who was also a shareholder in the BVI company, was identified and cross-examined along with a company promoter. The employee was not aware of being a shareholder in the company and had signed papers on the instruction of the company’s main promoter, investigations have revealed.
During the searches, I-T sleuths secured various digital evidence and further forensic analysis has yielded email communications, establishing control and management of the company with the promoter of JMJ Group.
The I-T probe also revealed that the group availed bogus deduction under section 80IC of the Income Tax Act, 1961, to the extent of ₹398 crore. “The group set up two entities in Himachal Pradesh and was found to indulge in sham transactions in order to claim the aforesaid false deduction,” the press release stated.
Tax officials also discovered that unaccounted production of pan masala worth ₹247 crore at two factory premises of the group.
Meanwhile, Sachiin Joshi, who was arrested by ED on Sunday for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case against Omkar Developers, was produced in special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday and has been remanded in ED’s custody till Thursday.
ED’s investigations had revealed Sachiin helped Omkar Group promoters to divert around ₹87 crore of loans taken from Yes Bank.