Gahlot evaded ₹120cr in tax, says I-T dept

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTMETRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent htre­porters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

HT AR­CHIVES

Kailash Gahlot claimed that the I­T raids had been con­ducted at be­hest of the Cen­tral govern­ment.

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