Income Tax Raids Against Sasikala & Kin Reveals Rs 1430 Crore Worth Benami Wealth
Income Tax officials have claimed to have found out tax evasion on Rs 1430 crore in undeclared wealth after raids on Jaya TV and family members of jailed AIADMK leader V. K. Sasikala; the list includes the name of the Sasikala’s brother, V.K. Dhivakaran.
A senior income tax official reportedly said after the five-day search that the estimate that has been given might increase manifold. The present estimate was given on 13 November, after there has been speculation that the raids have not been able to find out anything worthwhile and hence there was silence.
The present I-T raid is the longest in the history of raids in Tamil Nadu – usually, these raids last for about 2-3 days. In all, 355 people have so far come under the I-T scanner in this round of searches.
What are the findings by the I-T raids till now?
- Authorities also say Rs. 7 crore in cash, Rs. 5 crore worth of gold and a vast collection of diamond jewellery the value of which has not yet been assessed have been recovered, reported NDTV.
- Many shell companies have also been identified by the I-T officials. These companies have been floated by the family members of Sasikala and have been working on a minimum capital.
- Bank accounts to those shell companies have been frozen – massive sums of money were deposited in them post demonetisation.
- Officials have aided 10 “assessee groups” at 187 locations across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and Delhi over suspected tax evasion. It has been found out that Sasikala and family have evaded taxes amounting to Rs 1,000 crore, reported The Asian Age.
- Jaya TV has been the mouthpiece of the AIADMK for a long time. But, very significantly, the channel turned into a bitter critic of the E Palaniswami government after the rift with the rebel group led by O Panneerselvam was sealed.
- Vivek Jayaraman, the nephew of Sasikala and the son her sister-in-law Ilavarasi, is the MD of Jaya TV and has been the focal point of I-T investigations. Vivek’s 2015 business deal with SPI Cinemas is also being investigated. It has been alleged that he had used coercion to buy Jazz Cinemas, which was earlier known as Luxe Cinemas.
- Several documents pertaining to benami transactions in the names of several household staff have been seized by tax officials.
- Valuables have also been reportedly found out from the all-girls Sengamala Thayaar Educational Trust Women’s College at Sundarakottai near Mannargudi town that is run by Sasikala’s brother, V.K. Dhivakaran.
However, the I-T officials have denied giving any confirmation above reports and have said that they will give detailed information of the raids only after completing the five-day search.
TTV Dhinakaran, deputy general secretary of AIADMK, has denied the allegations and said that the raids have stemmed from vested political interests.
The Income Tax department has, however, denied any political links and claimed the raids to be a part of the ‘clean money drive’.