I-T attaches shares worth Rs 254 cr of Ratul Puri’s firm
The action came after the department found that the transaction was made through shell companies involving a suspect in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, government officials said.Updated: Jul 31, 2019 18:12 IST
The income tax (I-T) department has “provisionally” attached equity shares worth Rs 254 crore related to companies of businessman Ratul Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath.
The action came after the department found that the transaction was made through shell companies involving a suspect in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, government officials said.
The move to attach the non-cumulative compulsory convertible preference shares by the department’s Benami Prohibition Unit is based on credible information that the shares were received through a maze of shell companies as foreign direct investment, officials said requesting anonymity.
Spokespersons of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) did not respond to HT’s queries.
“These are all allegations,” a spokesperson in Puri’s office said but declined to comment on specific queries.
Officials said the action was initiated under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act because the Rs 254 crore investment was apparently generated through over-invoicing of imports of solar panels by one of the group companies of Puri and the transactions took place through overseas shell companies.
Puri, the chairperson of Hindustan Power Projects, is already under the scanner of agencies such as the I-T department and Enforcement Directorate on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.
The shell companies involved in the transaction are linked to Dubai-based operator Rajiv Saxena, an accused in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case, officials said. Saxena is in ED’s custody since January this year for his involvement in the chopper scam.
The Rs 3,600 crore deal to purchase AgustaWestland choppers for VVIPs was scrapped by India over allegations of corruption and kickbacks paid to middlemen. The ED and the CBI are probing the case and have already filed multiple charge sheets in the case.
The agencies had conducted raids on Puri’s companies in April this year and found evidence of tax evasion worth Rs 1,350 crore.
Puri is the son of Nita and Deepak Puri, the CMD of optical storage media firm Moser Baer. Nita Puri is Nath’s sister.
First Published: Jul 31, 2019 14:00 IST