Pramod Agrawal, chartered accountant accused of swindling crores of public money, has been slapped with a tax demand of over Rs 100 crore. This is probably biggest ever demand from an assessee in the region. Not just that, the income tax department could slap another Rs 100 crore penalty on Agrawal for concealment of income.
If the tax is not received or an appeal filed within a stipulated time, the department can go ahead with selling off the land purchased by Agrawal’s company Mahadeo Developers. This firm collected money from the public with a promise of doubling it in two and a half years. It claimed that rapid appreciation in land prices due to the Mihan-fuelled boom will generate enough profits to allow such returns. Agrawal’s income on which the tax was demanded has been pegged at Rs 450 crore by the department. It was on the basis of findings of a search and seizure operations conducted on him in 2008. The money Mahadeo Developers collected was projected to be invested only in plots of land near Mihan SEZ, but even property in other districts was bought.
The taxmen arrived at the figure of Rs 450 crore by taking in account the money spent in purchasing the plots as well as the deposits collected from the public. Since Agrawal had not maintained a list of depositors the amount received from them has been also counted as his income. The amount spent in buying land has been classified as Pramod Agrawal’s income through undisclosed sources.
Despite several opportunities to justify his stance, Agrawal did not turn up before the income tax officials. This was also because he was in police custody most of this time but not even his representative appeared before the department, said a source. The documents of the land purchased by Mahadeo Developers are under the income tax department’s possession. The procedure to sell an assessee’s assets can be started after a month of the demand being raised. The due date is approaching in Agrawal’s case, said a source. However, the depositors can initiate legal action to stall proceedings so as to safeguard their interests. Once the land is disposed of to recover tax dues there would be nothing left for the depositors who have lost huge sums Agrawal is now out on bail. Initially, he was released for a period of 45 days on an assurance that he would be returning amounts due to the depositors. The period has been extended and a further hearing is pending in the matter. Agrawal has submitted to the court the details of money returned from time to time to depositors, said a source.