Gahlot evaded ₹120cr in tax, says I-T dept
NEW DELHI: The income-tax (I-T) department on Saturday said it has found documents that show senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and state transport minister Kailash Gahlot had evaded tax worth ₹120 crore — a claim that was denied by the minister.
Calling it a “deliberate act of spreading disinformation”, Gahlot alleged that the I-T raids at the 16 properties linked to him were conducted at behest of the Central government “to cover up the I-T department’s failures”.
The I-T department told news agency IANS on Saturday that documents recovered from the minister’s premises show office boys, peons and employees had been extended loans and were holding equity worth ₹70 crore in several “shell” companies.
“The amount of tax evasion by Gahlot is a conservative figure as of now. We have also detected several benami properties in the names of employees and a huge piece of land in the name of a driver. There is also evidence of Gahlot’s investment in a property in Dubai,” a senior I-T department official, requesting anonymity, told the news agency.
From one shell company director, loans and entries of about ₹20 crore were spotted and large-scale investments in properties through General Power of Attorney (GPA) were discovered, the official said. In the last three days, I-T sleuths had raided 16 properties belonging to Gahlot and his family across Vasant Kunj, Paschim Vihar, Najafgarh and Gurugram.
Gahlot, who holds the portfolios of transport, law, revenue, information technology and administrative reforms in the Delhi government, denied all claims of tax evasion. He called the raids “a deliberate act of spreading disinformation” at the behest of the Central government with a view “to cover up the abysmal failure” of the I-T department.
“The I-T officers purportedly searched Gahlot’s flat for around 60 hours but could only recover ₹11 lakh, the amount which has been duly accounted for in his books. Another sum of ₹24 lakh was admittedly related to the family of Gahlot’s elder brother,” read a statement issued by the minister’s legal team.
It also stated that rumours are being spread of recovery of unaccounted jewellery worth ₹2 crore. “The truth is that jewellery belonging to Gahlot’s wife (assessed at current market rate) of ₹28 lakh (duly accounted for) was found along with jewellery worth ₹41 lakhs (duly accounted for) belonging to his mother-inlaw,” the statement said.
With regard to shell companies, Gahlot’s team said the minister was a successful lawyer till he filed his nomination as an Assembly candidate in 2015. “He has no direct control over the working of these companies. No documents of these companies were found at the residence of Gahlot,” it said.
Gahlot, who was originally scheduled to leave for China on Friday as part of a study tour for electric buses, had to cancel the trip due to the raids. Officials of the transport department and the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS) left for the tour on Friday night.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meanwhile slammed the AAP government and sought Gahlot’s resignation. “Failure of Arvind Kejriwal to take action in the case of corruption by his ministers Gahlot, Satyendar Jain and former minister Asim Ahmed Khan indicates his involvement in corruption and proves that the chief minister completely lacks morality. BJP demands that Kejriwal should immediately dismiss Gahlot and Jain,” said Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.
Kailash Gahlot claimed that the IT raids had been conducted at behest of the Central government.