The Income Tax Department has detected "concealment of income" to the tune of Rs 17 crore after recent raids on institutions linked to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and his family members, official sources claimed on Monday.
The tax department also found alleged financial irregularities in a Nagpur-based Trust linked to the NCP leader that runs three educational institutions, they said.
"Evidence found during the search clearly indicates concealment of income to the extent of about Rs 17 crore," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) claimed.
While the CBDT said the raids were carried out on September 17 on 30 premises in Nagpur, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata against a "prominent public figure in Nagpur and his family members", official sources identified the action as being conducted against Deshmukh.
It added that "several" bank lockers found during the course of the search operation have been put under prohibitory orders.
The 71-year-old former home minister of the state is being investigated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of alleged money laundering and payment of purported kickbacks in the police establishment of Maharashtra.
He had to resign from his post in the cabinet of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in April after these allegations came to light.
The ED recently moved a local court in Mumbai, seeking action against Deshmukh as he refused to appear before it in response to five summons for physical questioning.
The CBDT said the business group has "wide business interest spanning the fields of education, warehousing and agri-business in Nagpur and other parts of Maharashtra".
It claimed "many incriminating documents, loose sheets and other digital evidences were found and seized" during the searches.
"These evidences clearly indicate the involvement of the group in unaccounted financial transactions made outside the regular books of accounts including inflation of expenses, money laundering, bogus donation receipts, unaccounted cash expenses etc," it said.
The CBDT said evidence for receipt of "bogus donation" in the hands of the Trust run by the assessee group through money laundering using Delhi-based companies "to the extent of Rs 4 crore has been found".
"This clearly substantiates the laundering of the unaccounted income of the assessee routed as donation to the Trust.
"Specific evidences have been unearthed which reveal that three educational institutions of the Trust have indulged in inflation of expenses in which salaries paid to the employees were partly collected back in cash," it alleged.
Such evidences, the statement claimed, were found for several financial years and amounted to more than Rs 12 crore.
"The Trust, apart from suppression of receipts, has paid substantial amounts to brokers for arranging admissions.
"Such payments, to the tune of about Rs 87 lakh have been paid in cash and are completely unaccounted," it stated.
It said the "evidence" gathered during the searches is being examined and further investigations are in progress.
The CBI first booked Deshmukh in a corruption case related to allegations of at least Rs 100 crore bribe made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Deshmukh had maintained that Singh made the allegations against him after he was removed from the post of the Mumbai Police commissioner.