Mumbai, Jan 23: The Income Tax Department Tuesday conducted on-field inquiries at 11 premises in Mumbai belonging to alleged shell companies related to Purti Group with which BJP chief Nitin Gadkari was associated and found no trace of these entities at their given addresses.
“We went to 11 premises, which housed over 24 companies but we could not find anything. In a couple of cases, even the addresses were non-existent,” an IT source said speaking on condition of anonymity.
“All the companies are bogus and they do not exist on the addresses given to the Registrar of Companies,” the source told PTI.
The IT sleuths had gone there to verify the addresses of the companies, find out whether they really existed and to know about the nature of the business. All these companies were connected with the Purti group in some or the other way, while some had bought and sold shares in Purti Power and Sugar Limited, the official said. These companies came up two years back, had pan cards and were filing their returns, he said.
“We will now check our internal files to get the whereabouts of the people who had filed the returns,” he said. Meanwhile, the Purti group has said some of the companies, about which the Income Tax department carried out on-field inquiries in Mumbai today, are not part of its family but have made investments in the firm.
“Today, Income Tax department has done a survey on various companies in Mumbai. These companies being referred as part of Purti group is factually wrong. “As alleged, these companies are not part of Purti group. These companies have invested in some companies of Purti group. Purti group has nothing to do with the actions of the I-T department,” Managing Director of Purti Power and Sugar Limited (PPSL) Sudhir Dive said in a statement.
According to sources, the on-field inquiries, which came a day before Gadkari was to seek a second straight term as BJP chief, followed “certain doubts” raised by the Pune branch of the I-T department which asked its Mumbai counterpart to look into those.
Gadkari, who was asked by the I-T department to appear before it yesterday in connection with the probe into alleged dubious investments in Purti group of companies, had sought more time to present his case.
Citing his preoccupation with party work as the reason for his inability to appear before the tax authorities, he sought more time, sources had said yesterday. They said he has been asked to appear on February 1.
Two authorised representatives of Gadkari had met IT officials in Nagpur and submitted a 25-page document in reply to the department's questions regarding his personal transactions and investments related to the Purti group and a few other companies.
Gadkari had earlier denied allegations of any wrongdoing and said he had resigned from the group sometime ago.
The IT department had earlier issued summons to Gadkari asking him to appear before it in the second half of this month as the taxmen were probing a case of alleged tax evasion against him and his group of companies.
Gadkari has been asked to present himself in person so he can be confronted with documents and facts gathered during the probe by IT authorities in the last few months. The department has been probing various firms that have invested in Gadkari's company Purti Power and Sugar Limited (PPSL).