Gujarati bizman who declared Rs 13,860 cr under IDS questioned by I-T dept; says 'money not mine'

Mahesh Shah, who came under the microscope of the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) post a surprising disclosure Rs 13,860 crore in unaccounted wealth, seems to have taken a U-turn as he today said he was
Gujarati, Mahesh Shah, IDS, Income Tax Source: PTI
India TV Business Desk Ahmedabad December 04, 2016 7:32 IST

Mahesh Shah, the Ahmedabad-based businessman who had declared a stunning Rs13,860 crore of unaccounted money under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) in unaccounted wealth, was on Saturday detained by the Income Tax department.

Before his detention, I-T officials had carried out raids at his residence in Ahmedabad, his relative’s houses and the office and residence of the chartered accountancy firm that had made the IDS declaration on his behalf.

Before he was detained by I-T sleuths, he told a regional TV channel that he was used as a front by some businessmen and politicians to declare the money and would name them soon.

Shah appeared at the ETV studio in Ahmedabad, nearly a week after he went absconding on November 29. Income Tax officers detained the property dealer to question him.

Earlier he told the TV channel that "Rs 13,860 crore I declared under Income Disclosure Scheme is not mine".

Shah's disclosure under the Centre's IDS, which ended in September, accounts for over 20 per cent of the total Rs 65,000 crore declared under the scheme. 

The city-based property dealer, who was missing since I-T department raided his residence earlier this week, appeared in the studios of the TV channel here and said he had made the declaration under his name out of "compulsion" and to "earn commission". 

"The amount of Rs 13,860 crore that I declared under IDS was not mine, I will tell the names of those behind it before Income Tax officials," Shah said, adding that he "made the declaration out of compulsion and to earn commission." 

Income Tax searches were conducted on the office and residential premises of Shah on November 29, 30 and December 1 after he failed to pay first installment of tax -- Rs 1,560 crore -- on the whopping declaration of Rs 13,860 crore under the IDS. 

"Those whose money was disclosed under IDS backed out at the last moment, so I could not pay the first installment of tax to the Income Tax department," he said. 

"I will expose everything soon. I have committed a mistake but I will reveal everything soon," Shah said. 

No sooner did Shah appear on the channel making the dramatic claim, he was taken away for questioning by I-T sleuths from the office of the local channel for questioning in presence of Sarkhej police officials. 

In reply to a question if the money belonged to any businessman or politician, Shah said it belonged to "several persons". 

He, however, refused to reveal the names, saying he would do that only in front of Income Tax officials. 

The property dealer claimed he has not done anything wrong and appealed to the authorities for cooperation as he was ready to reveal everything.
After the raids at the office and residence of Shah, the I-T sleuths had also swooped down on premises of his chartered accountant firm. 

When asked where was he from November 29, Shah said he was in Mumbai. 

He was supposed to pay Rs 1,560 crore, which is 25 per cent of 45 per cent tax on the disclosed amount, as the first installment. Though November 30 was the last date, he failed to deposit the installment with I-T department. 

When I-T department conducted an inquiry, they started doubting Shah's capacity to pay the installment by the due date. Thus by November 28, I-T department cancelled his IDS Form-2 and initiated search operations the next day. 

 
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