I-T raids on BMC contractors reveal Rs735-cr fraud

Raids carried out by the Income Tax Department at 37 residential and commercial premises of civil contractors of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Mumbai and Gujarat's Surat, have brought to light fake expenditure to the tune of Rs735 crore, allegedly involving fraudulent transactions, officials said on Thursday.

The department is also reported to have seized incriminating documents during raids, carried out on 6 November, clearly showing "large scale tax evasion and money laundering".
Sources said that the income tax sleuths also carried out surveys at a few BMC officials' premises.
The department said that raids were also conducted on entry operators in Mumbai and Surat after which the probing sleuths found evidence of bogus entries and fake expenditure to the tune of Rs735 crore.
Some documents have also led to the detection of the use of bogus companies.
Among the contractors, two were blacklisted by the BMC in 2017 after a probe into the Rs350-crore road scam found them guilty of shoddy and substandard work.
"Raids were carried out on entry providers and beneficiaries who have been engaged in execution of civil contracts mainly in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)," Income Tax department stated in a release.
A total of 37 premises were covered under search action and seven premises were covered under survey.
"There were reports that certain contractors had taken entries in the form of loans, etc. from entry providers and also inflated expenses in the books of accounts to suppress income," said the department.
The agency stated that in the case of the entry providers, systematic modus operandi of bank fraud and forgery has been detected whereby the promoters have made investments in immovable properties and shares of group companies by siphoning off the bank loans.
"In the case of the contractor groups, several instances about inflation of expenses by bogus purchases/sub-contracts and taking of loans from entry providers have been identified," it stated.
A senior Income Tax official said that investigations are in progress, including identification of the remaining beneficiaries.