One of the largest and longest search operations for unaccounted wealth by the Indian tax officials, going on at the premises of jailed AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala's kin and their business associates, entered its fourth day on Sunday before being temporarily concluded, said a senior tax official.
Sasikala, currently serving her jail sentence for corruption, was a confidante of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and lived with her for decades.
"The search has been temporarily concluded on Sunday so that our officials and also the search parties get some respite. We will resume the process in 20-25 premises on Monday," the official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.
"All the documents will be kept in a safety cupboard or in a room in those premises and the occupants of the house would be prohibited from opening those cupboards or the rooms
"We have to complete our work in the premises where search operations were carried out," he added.
Declining to comment on the amount of cash, jewellery and property documents allegedly seized as per some reports, the official said: "It only shows their imagination. I need not confirm or deny this imagination."
The official said the department waited for the individuals and companies associated with Sasikala to file their tax returns for the year and based on the filing and the data with the IT department, the searches was carried out to detect tax evasion.
After analysing the documents and obtaining clarifications, tax demand would be raised, the official told IANS.
The searches were conducted in connection with unexplained routing of cash post-demonetisation through shell companies allegedly connected to Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran, who heads one of the wings of the ruling AIADMK.
The IT department will look at the routing of funds within India whereas other agencies will look into the routing of money outside India, the official said.
"We have information about shell companies and the search is in connection with their operations," he said.
A decision on freezing the bank accounts of the searched persons and companies would be taken only after collating the data from the seized papers.
On Thursday, a team of around 1,800 IT officials knocked at the doors of 187 premises --residences and offices and farmhouses -- to carry out one of the biggest income tax searches on Sasikala's kin and associates.
The places raided included the residence of M. Natarajan, Sasikala's husband, in Thanjavur; Kodanad Tea Estate belonging to Jayalalithaa; Jazz Cinemas, Midas Distilleries, Sharada Paper and Boards, Senthil Group of Companies, Nilgiri Furniture in Coimbatore, Jaya TV, Namadhu MGR and several other premises in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
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