New Delhi: The Dainik Bhaskar group has evaded about Rs 700 crore in taxes over a period of six years, the Income Tax Department has claimed.
The department searched 20 residential and 12 business premises spread over nine cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal, Indore, Noida and Ahmedabad on July 22.
It alleged that the amount of tax evasion could be more as the investigation being carried out could unravel the entire money trail.
“The quantum of income escapement using this modus operandi, detected so far, amounts to Rs. 700 crore spread over a period of 6 years. However, the quantum may be more as the group has used multiple layers and investigations are being carried out to unravel the entire money trail,” the Income Tax Department said in a statement.
The IT department also alleged violation of Companies Act and SEBI guidelines by the group.
It said that the Dainik Bhaskar group “is involved in businesses in various sectors, including media, power, textiles and real estate, with a group turnover of more than Rs 6000 crore per annum”.
The department said that the group has more than 100 companies including the holding and subsidiary companies.
“It was found that they have been operating several companies in the names of their employees, which have been used for booking bogus expenses and routing of funds. During the search, several of the employees, whose names were used as shareholders and directors, have admitted that they were not aware of such companies and had given their Aadhaar card and digital signature to the employer in good faith. Some were found to be relatives, who had willingly and knowingly signed the papers but had no knowledge or control of the business activities of the companies, in which they were supposed to be directors and shareholders,” the official statement said.
It added that a total of 26 lockers were found in the residential premises of the promoters and key employees of the group, which are being investigated.