Tax investigators on Thursday claimed that the day-2 of ongoing massive search operations on the multiple premises of Maruti Ferrous Private Limited and Gravity Ferrous Private Limited, has just turned out to be a ‘tip of the iceberg.’ For, the tax evasion committed by the two privately owned groups involved in manufacturing of basic iron and steel and casting of metals, is likely to touch a mind-boggling tune of around Rs 200 crore, given the loads of incriminating documents and digital evidence found so far.
To corroborate the baffling disclosure, the taxmen claimed to have detected evasion to the tune of over Rs 10 crore alone from one of the office premises, being run from a 3 BHK flat of a plush residential apartment, situated in the heart of city. This office premise belongs to Ghankun Steels Private Limited, one of the associated companies of Maruti Ferrous Private Limited. “If such a substantial evasion has alone been detected from one premise, one can imagine the overall quantum,” knowledgeable sources in Investigating disclosed to ‘The Hitavada’. In meantime, according to the sources, the day two of search operations also saw unaccounted cash recovery reaching Rs 1.10 crore, whereas the valuables, including gold jewellery, found by the tax sleuths is now touching a mark of Rs 5 crore. The day also led to discovery of overall 16 lockers, which has exceeded four more than day one and some of which were opened by tax authorities on Thursday morning. “The findings of lockers, in terms of cash and valuables, were yet to be disclosed, but the tax sleuths managed to lay their hands on more incriminating evidences from here,” the sources added. Sources also disclosed that the taxmen probe, basing the ongoing search operations on the two groups, has found concrete evidence hinting towards quantum evasion committed by Maruti Ferrous Private Limited in comparison to and Gravity Ferrous Private Limited. “The Directors and Promoters of Maruti Ferrous Private Limited, who earlier used to do business in Bihar, shifted to Chhattisgarh some 15 years ago. The reason for shifting to Chhattisgarh was availability of a conducive and safe atmosphere here, apart from immense opportunities of growth and expansion. The state of Bihar 15 years ago used to be a living nightmare for businessmen and industrialists, since they often faced threat to their lives and business since kidnapping and extortion were rampant there. Once having arrived in Chhattisgarh, the Directors and promoters of Maruti Ferrous Private Limited group grew very fast and rapidly as one after another they took over many sick and default iron and steel industries here through National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) NCLT and other lucrative business deals. As this group grew and expanded, they gradually resorted to unfair business practices to evade tax liability and what forms up till the search ops is history,” the sources recalled. Sources also affirmed that the searches will continue for another 48 hours after which baffling disclosures may crop up. “Nearly, 47 premises, including 6 plants, 20 office premises and over a dozen plush residential buildings were still being searched in Raipur, Bilaspur and Raigarh districts respectively. Those covered under the tax swoop include multiple Directors, Individual Partners, Designated Partners and Whole-time Directors of the two groups, in addition to their associated companies, top ranking employees, chartered accountants and family members. Search operations were also underway in Kolkata (West Bengal), Jharkhand and Odisha, where shell entities operated by the two groups were being probed. The wide-spread search operations had commenced concurrently at around 6 am on Wednesday,” the sources maintained. It is pertinent here to recall that as many as 200 tax enforcers escorted by armed troopers of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were taking part in the concurrent search operations spread across 47 premises in Raipur, Bilaspur and Raigarh districts respectively, in addition to another premises situated in Kharora Tehsil of Raipur district.