In the first major operation in the current financial year, income tax (I-T) department officials cracked on four real estate groups in the city on Wednesday.  Suspecting tax evasion and parking of black money, the IT officials began search and survey on 60 premises, including offices, houses and project sites of the groups on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 150 officials from investigation wing of the I-T department participated in the operation. All the groups are realty majors and deal in hi-end residential and commercial schemes. The groups have large-scale investments in luxurious farmhouse and golf course plotting schemes on outskirts of the city.

Real estate sources said that the I-T officials timed the opearation as some of the builders were out on a trip to Singapore when the taxmen landed at their doorsteps.

“Around 30 premises were searched and 30 surveyed in the operation which began on Wednesday afternoon. The real estate magnets have large-scale investments in the city and cater to niche clients,” said an I-T official.

The I-T department sources hinted that the operation would continue for two to three days, considering the magnitude of investments. “Three of the four groups are realty giants and have thousands of crores of investment in the property market of the city. The last group has a popular city-based jeweller as promoter whose shop at CG Road was also searched. It had also launched a residential scheme in a posh locality recently,” said a source.

The I-T department had recently released figures of stashes of black money recovered from real estate groups in the state. In the last financial year, the department searched 10 realty groups in the state which disclosed a whopping Rs 575 crore of black money.

Realtor declares 83 cr evasion: The Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) officials searched premises of a realty group, which is a listed company, for possible evasion of service tax. The realtor which has its corporate office near Law Garden was raided last year by the I-T department. The group during the operation declared Rs 83 crore of black money. The DGCEI officials searched two premises of the group and found incriminating documents suggesting evasion of service tax.

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