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The owners of Patel Engineering Limited, a listed company, admitted to the concealment of income of Rs 200 crore during searches conducted by the income tax (I-T) authorities. The company is mainly into construction of bridges, dams and highways. I-T authorities had searched 25 premises of the company and its owners in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore and Buldhana last Thursday and Friday.

A senior I-T officer, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the company owners admitted concealment of income. “Though they have admitted to concealment of Rs 200 crore, we are continuing our investigation to find out if there is more,” the officer said.

He added that the department suspects that the concealed income amount could climb, as out of 12 bank lockers sealed last week, 11 are yet to be opened. “On opening these lockers, things will be clear as they could contain some valuables or important documents,” the officer said.

Ashwin Parmar, an authorised representative for the company refused to comment.

During searches, the I-T authorities had found that the company had shown artificial expenditures in making payments for sub-contracts awarded by it to other firms and in purchases of various machinery and equipment.

The authorities found that the company used to pay excess amount to firms taking sub-contracts, by cheque, but a part of it (which was in excess) came back to the company in cash.

The I-T team had also found a benami bank account during searches. The account was in the name of an employee of the company but was controlled and operated by the company owners.

Meanwhile, as per regular rate, the company would be required to pay around Rs 67 crore in tax on the concealed income. The officer said that the department could also charge interest on the tax amount that was not paid on time by the company.

Further, the department could also levy penalty on the company for concealing income. The penalty, if levied, could be 100 to 300 per cent of the tax amount.

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June 2024