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Fed up of being made to run around for 15 years, the Income Tax (I-T ) department has been quick to seize an opportunity to extract its dues totalling Rs 114.17 crore from the Bhagats. The department recently filed a plea before the special MCOCA court, requesting it not to defreeze the bank accounts of Hitesh Bhagat who along with his mother Jaya Chheda allegedly plotted his father Matka king Suresh Bhagats murder until it gets a chance to recover its dues.

On June 13 last year, on the Alibaug-Pen Road a truck rammed into the car Suresh Bhagat was travelling in, killing him and six others. His ex-wife Jaya Chheda and son Hitesh, along with six others, were arrested. Police claimed the two wanted to usurp Sureshs matka business.

The I-T department in its plea claimed that when they raided Sureshs father Kalyanji Bhagats property in March 1992, they seized incriminating documents related to finances. The department said that with huge tax liabilities found, an assessment was done from the years 1983-84 to 2002-03 , pegging the tax liabilities at Rs 46.88 crore.

The department said Kalyanji had defaulted on his tax dues for a long time, the interest calculated on it is an estimated Rs 67.09 crore; the tax liability therefore worked out to a total of Rs 113.97 crore. An additional Rs 20 lakh was shown as dues of Suresh and Hitesh.

As Kalyanji passed away in August 1994, Suresh was appointed as an attorney on behalf of all legal heirs of Kalyanji. As Suresh didnt foot the outstanding tax dues, the tax recovery officer attached four immovable properties and its rent Ghatkopars Bhagat Estate, Sions Kalyan Apartments, Worlis Jayant Villa and Worlis Vinod Villa.

With Sureshs murder last year, Hitesh inherited the properties and liabilities of his father and thereby of his grandfather Kalyanji. But with Hitesh behind bars, the crime branch has seized and frozen his bank accounts, as has been done for his co-accused .

When the I-T department learnt that the accused had requested the court to defreeze their bank accounts, it decided to file this plea before the court. The department requested the court not to pass an order to defreeze the accounts until their claim is considered and decided upon. The court has now adjourned the matter till Friday.

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June 2024