BHOPAL: Ongoing income tax department searches at premises of two high-profile builders-realtors groups have revealed strong possibility of retired bureaucrats and police officers' being associated with 'benami' properties in the projects of the two Bhopal-based groups.
The IT department raids at 20 premises Bhopal-based Faith Group and another realtor-builder group, which started on Thursday early morning and went on till Friday. While the searches at five-six premises have ended, the IT department raids are still underway at remaining premises.
In a significant development, the ongoing probe has revealed a strong possibility of association of retired bureaucrats and police officers with the two groups, particularly association in form of holding 'benami' properties in someone else's name in the projects of the two groups.
Ongoing searches have also led to documents of properties which are owned on paper by low income people residing in one room accomodations in Bhopal, that suggests that those properties could actually be 'benami' properties owned by rich and high-profile individuals.
Importantly, Raghvendra Singh Tomar, who owns Faith Group, is a close relative of an IPS officer presently posted as district police chief in the state.
The ongoing search so far has led to details of 100-plus immovable properties related to the two groups (one group headed by influential builder Tomar and the another group headed by Piyush Gupta) which are spread in 200-250 acres of land. The concerned properties and land could be worth over Rs 100 crores.
According to sources associated with the ongoing raids, the tax sleuths have also detected documentary evidences of the two groups having purchased large tracts of land by making cash payment to the tune of Rs 1 crore or more to actual owners of those lands -- which is violative of the norms that cash payment over Rs 20,000 isn't allowed.
Informed sources in the IT department confided to The New Indian Express that a major mismatch has been found in the annual IT returns filed by the two groups and their actual properties/assets possession, which suggests possibility of massive tax evasion by both the raided groups.
Congress on the offensive against BJP
The opposition Congress, meanwhile, has gone on the offensive against the BJP, demanding the ruling party to come clear on the links between state cabinet minister Arvind Singh Bhadoriya and Tomar.
State Comgress spokespersons Bhupendra Gupta and Narendra Saluja held a press conference in Bhopal on Friday, demanding answers from the ruling party about the association between the cabinet minister (who played key role in toppling of the Kamal Nath government in March) and Tomar.
The Congress leaders also questioned as to how Tomar, whose name had cropped up in connection with the Vyapam scam-related Pre-PG Examination case, was later made a prosecution witness during the erstwhile BJP-regime headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
In a related development, ex-Congress MLA from Ater seat Hemant Katare released pictures Bhadoriya boarding high end vehicles, which were actually registered in Tomar's name.
Hemant, who is the son of ex-Opposition leader Satyadeo Katare, had defeated Bhadoriya in the 2017 by-poll from Ater assembly seat of Bhind district, but lost to Bhadoriya an year later from the same seat in the 2018 assembly polls.