The Income Tax Department seized ₹30 crore that was allegedly black money after raiding a coaching institute in Tamil Nadu, according to a statement released by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Saturday (October 12).
Seventeen residential premises of the unidentified group’s promoters in Namakkal, Perundurai, Karur and Chennai were raided on Friday (October 11), and according to “preliminary” estimates, the income of the group was over ₹150 crore.
The search was undertaken on the basis of intelligence inputs that the group was indulging in substantial tax evasion by “suppression” of fee receipts received from students, the CBDT said.
The modus operandi was to receive a part of the fees in cash and such cash receipts were invariably not entered in the regular books of accounts. Instead, the receipts were maintained in a separate set of accounts, it added.
Incriminating evidence of such suppression of receipts was found during the search in the form of accounts maintained in diaries, electronic storage devices and also in the form of huge sums of unaccounted cash, the board said.
It was found that cash was kept in bank lockers in the names of employees who acted as “benami”, it added.
The board said that a “significant” amount of cash was also found in a safe inside an auditorium on the main school premises. “The unaccounted receipts are deployed for acquiring immovable properties as personal investments, which are then leased for long terms to the trust for expanding to other towns.”
“It was also found that highly-priced faculty are hired and employed in the coaching institutes and paid outside the books,” it said.
Based on preliminary findings, the undisclosed income of the group was estimated at over ₹150 crore while unaccounted cash of ₹30 crore was seized, the CBDT said, adding that the search was still on.
The coaching group was mainly into running educational institutions and coaching institutes for competitive exams including NEET, and it comprised several partnership firms and a trust controlled by a close-knit group of individuals, the CBDT said in a statement.
The CBDT frames policies for the I-T department.
Another scandal that recently came to light regarding NEET is the impersonation of students appearing for the exam.
Six students were arrested on September 25 and September 27 by officers of the Tamil Nadu CB-CID after it was found that they had gotten admissions into medical colleges through impersonation.