The Income Tax Department filed a complaint of cheating against a Surat BJP vice-president, PVS Sharma for forging circulation numbers for his two dailies to draw advertising revenue of around ₹ 2.70 crores from government agencies and ad firms.
The department carried out raids at the home and business premises of Sarma, who is himself a former I-T officer, and recovered several 'incriminating documents', reported The Indian Express.
The documents were the evidence of fraud carried out by Sarma and his aides, using fabricated documents of fake firms, and showing large circulations for the English and Gujarati newspapers, which were used to get the ads.
Deputy director of the Investigation Wing of the Surat, Pamaiya K D filed the complaint against Sarma, his business partner Sitaram Adukiya, and others with the police on Saturday.
According to the complaint, Sarma ran the Satyam Times daily in Gujarati and English. Between the years 2008-09 and October 21, 2010, they had purchased raw materials for printing from Mahesh Trading Company and a few other firms for ₹3.98 crores.
But the department found that no firm with the name 'Mahesh Trading Company' existed, instead the premises were owned by Adukiya.
Sarma and Adukiya had allegedly made fake entries in the company's ledger books, showing the sales circulation of the Gujarati newspaper at 23,500 copies, and 6,000 copies of the English newspaper. They had allegedly fabricated the figures of sales, made fake papers of sales of raw materials from non-existent firms.
The I-T officials found a massive margin in the actual numbers and the ones mentioned in the books, with only 600 copies of the Gujarati newspaper and 290 of the English newspaper. Through the bogus documents, they had allegedly availed DAVP ads from the Centre to the tune of ₹70 lakh and from other ads firms of ₹2 crores. Further investigation in the case is underway.