Rs 41 lakh in cash and over a dozen kilograms in gold and jewellery were also recovered during searches conducted on the premises of the duo.
- 1Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahila Congress president Laxmi Hebbalkar are in the dock.
- 3Jarkiholi alleged that there was a political conspiracy behind the I-T raids.
The income tax department has detected undisclosed assets worth over Rs 162 crore and seized Rs 41 lakh in cash, apart from over a dozen kilograms in gold and jewellery during searches conducted on the premises of a Karnataka minister and state Mahila Congress chief.
Officials said the department had also got inputs about a number of “benami” assets and “unexplained investments” during the searches at the premises of Small Scale Industries Minister Ramesh L Jarkiholi and Mahila Congress president Laxmi R Hebbalkar in Gokak, Belgaum and Bengaluru last week. The searches followed allegations of tax evasion.
In his defence, Jarkiholi said that he had not done anything wrong and alleged that there was a “political conspiracy” behind the income tax raids on his premises.
HAVE COMMITTED NO MISTAKE: JARKIHOLI
“I have not committed any mistake and I believe there is a political conspiracy behind the I-T raids. Income tax officials had visited us in Belagavi and we have cooperated with them. We would cooperate with them even in the future”, Jarkiholi told PTI.
Hebbalkar was not available for her comment.
“The searches led to the admission of undisclosed income worth Rs 162.06 crore and unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 41 lakh, besides 12.8 kg gold and jewellery. Many people who had large incomes and investments were found not to be filing I-T returns and the probe in the case is going on,” they said.
The searches, they said, were launched on January 19 to probe allegations of tax evasion in the sugar business, apparently run by groups associated with the duo.
The investigators, sources said, found “huge unexplained cash deposits” had been made in the bank accounts of their family members and associates, and in benami names in primary cooperative societies, which were transferred to business entities engaged in sugar manufacturing.
“It was also detected that non-existent persons have been made share holders and investors in one of the sugar companies. Evidences of creation of bogus assets and syphoning off money from the company through various concerns engaged in turn-key projects for setting up sugar factories have also been gathered,” they said.
Sources in the income tax department said, “Entry operators and people who facilitate in hawala-like transactions were involved in making huge deposits in banks, which were routed through various intermediaries to escape the tax net.”
The department has also issued summons to a number of people allegedly involved in the case to take the probe forward, they said.