IT sleuths taken for a ride on false claim

Hyderabad: Two businessmen in the capital city have taken the Income Tax authorities for a ride. One Banapuram Lakshman Rao had declared Rs 9,800 crore unaccounted income under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), but failed to pay tax for his declared assets before the deadline.

When Income Tax department officials raided his house in Film Nagar and his offices at RTC Crossroads and Ramanthapur, they found he was a fake. The I-T raids started on Tuesday evening and continued till Wednesday morning. The IT sleuths found no assets worth crores but seized some documents from his possession. The businessman and his associates were being questioned by the IT sleuths.

A native of Devara Yamjal under Hakimpet limits near Hyderabad, Lakshman Rao is the proprietor of BLR Builders and Developers and he is also one of the directors in four other companies. He did not have even Rs 1 crore, officials sources said. He is reported to have made this claim only to grab media attention.

Lakshman Rao was the first to declare such huge unaccounted money under the IDS followed by another businessman Mahesh Shah, who also declared Rs 13,000 crores in Ahmedabad but later went back on his claim saying the money did not belong to him but to some others.

Meanwhile, one Bakshi also declared under the IDS scheme that he had Rs 3 lakh crore unaccounted money. When he failed to pay the tax, the IT sleuths raided his house and found no money. Bakshi was missing during the IT raid. These findings deal an embarrassing blow to the Centre’s claim of unearthing about Rs 65,000 crores of undeclared income through the voluntary IDS. It also calls into question the authenticity of other disclosures made under the scheme. -NSS

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