IT raids at 40 locations owned by Tamil Nadu’s SNJ Group
The Income Tax (IT) department has carried out search operations at the premises of the SNJ group, which owns ‘SNJ distilleries’ - a significant supplier of liquor products to the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), which is the monopoly distributor across 5,198 liquor outlets in the state. IT sleuths said that they started the raids on Tuesday and they continued on Wednesday.
According to sources with the IT department, the raids have been going on at 40 business units of the SNJ group located in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
“In Chennai, the search operations are underway at SNJ’s head office at Nandanam and its other premises in Thiyagaraya Nagar and Triplicane. Around 100 IT officials are involved in these simultaneous raids,” said sources privy to the development.
The sources further added that IT officials had seized ₹4 crore of unaccounted cash and documents on Wednesday.
“Since we got information that the SNJ group was involved in tax evasion, the raid was initiated,” a senior IT official told HT.
Tirunelveli based S N Jayamurugan owns the SNJ group. SNJ has operations in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Malaysia and Singapore. It has interests in hotels and hospitality, entertainment, sugar mills and distilleries sectors.
SNJ distilleries supplies liquor to TN, AP, Karaikal, Mahe, Puducherry, Singapore and Malaysia. SNJ Sugars have a footprint in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from these businesses, the SNJ group also has a presence in the hospitality sector with several star hotels in Chennai.
Recently, the firm also won a bid of ₹450 crore to acquire Empee Distilleries in Chennai.
When DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister between 2006 and 2011, he wrote the scripts for two films named ‘Penn Singam’ and ‘Uzhiyin Osai’ both of which were produced by Jayamurugan, who is considered to be close to the first family of the party. It was under the DMK government that he got a licence to set up his distilleries unit in the state in 2010.
Despite HT’s attempts to reach out to the SNJ group over the phone to get comments on the ongoing raids, there has been no response from the firm.