Tuesday, March 9

Tax raids on hospital owner, Rs100-cr ‘illegal’ deals on radar

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The Income Tax Department has detected instances of alleged tax evasion after it raided a group that runs the “biggest private” multi-specialty hospital in Srinagar, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said on Sunday.

Surabhi Ahluwalia, spokesperson, said: “I-T officials conducted a search and seizure operation on February 19 at seven premises, including four residential, in Srinagar.”

Though the official statement did not name the business entity, department officials identified it as the group that runs Noora Hospital in Zainakote, Srinagar.

Ahluwalia said Rs 82.75 lakh cash and jewellery and bullion worth Rs 35.70 lakh were seized as the persons concerned were unable to explain the source. The department has also “sealed” a bank locker.

Besides the 100-bed Srinagar hospital, the core business of the group includes real estate and trading in household consumables. “The group buys large chunks of land and carves out plots for resale,” Ahluwalia said.

“Evidence showing more than 50 percent of consideration (above registered value of the property) received in cash from buyers has been seized,” the CBDT said.

“The group has made unaccounted property transactions of more than Rs 100 crore in cash since 2013-14. Payments made through banking channels by the buyers are also under investigation as prima facie verification has shown that the investments have not been made using tax-paid income,” it alleged.

Taxes will thus be charged not only from the seller group but the buyers also depending on the facts, it added.

“There is a substantial default of TDS on almost all land dealings. The raids also revealed substantial evasion of stamp duty. Evidence of various benami properties has also been unearthed and seized. The same is under investigation,” it said.

“Suppression of receipts from the running the hospital is under investigation. The average turnover shown is around Rs 10-12 crore since 2015-16. However, evidence shows actual receipts to be at least four times more,” the CBDT claimed.