The income tax department carried out search operations in 24 premises of various real estate companies, many of which also run media groups.
The premises of firms such as Gujarat News Broadcast Pvt Ltd which runs the Sambhav media and VTV, Neela Space Ltd, Vasubhuti Marketing, Ved Technoserve Ltd were among those that were searched. The premises of several other individuals associated with the real estate industry were also searched.
The firms are being searched for failing to disclose their income and wealth.
Earlier in late August, the investigation wing of the income tax department had carried out searches at 40 premises of a leading real estate group in Rajkot. The searches were carried out in Rajkot city as well as its surrounding areas. Employees, contractors, partners and even associates of the real estate company were searched during the operation.
In October last year, the department had, following search operations on another Ahmedabad-based group, seized cash and jewellery worth Rs1.5 crore. The group was involved in real estate, construction and land trading. In all, 27 premises were searched leading to the recovery of Rs69 lakh in cash and Rs82 lakh in jewellery. Several incriminating data and documents were recovered and 18 bank lockers were also seized.
The raids came after the department found that the group had close to 100 companies that had a few common addresses among them. The officials suspected that the companies that were merely on paper and had no real business were being used to rout the funds. At that time the department had said it was looking at tax evasions on at least Rs100 crore worth of transactions. The group used its many companies to sell and resell properties to avoid paying tax