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Raids in premises of southern spiritual guru leads to big haul

Raids in premises of southern spiritual guru leads to big haul

of Rs 500 cr plus undisclosed income

(Eds: Adds details, recasts story)

Chennai, Oct 18 (PTI) Searches in multiple premises

spread across Southern States in firms and trusts founded by

spiritual guru 'Kalki' Bhagwan has led to detection of

undisclosed income of more than Rs 500 crore, the Income Tax

department said on Friday.

The undisclosed income covers unaccounted cash receipts

of about Rs 409 crore.

A total of Rs 43.9 crore in cash and US currency worth Rs

18 crore was seized and the total value of seizure is about Rs

93 crore, which includes gold and diamonds, a tax department

official release said.

It was found that the group was investing in tax havens

and the tax department is probing 'diversion of income taxable

in India to offshore entities.'

A string of 40 premises connected to a conglomerate of

trusts and companies founded by the spiritual guru that ran

'wellness courses' were searched on Wednesday.

The searches, which are still in progress, has covered

premises in Chennai, Hyderabad,Bangalore and Varadaiahpalem in

Andhra Pradesh, a stone's throw from the Tamil Nadu border.

The entities founded by the guru, who propounded 'oneness

philosophy, 'offered 'wellness courses' and training

programmes in philosophy and spirituality at various sprawling

residential campuses at Varadaiahpalem, Chennai and Bengaluru.

The courses attract residential customers from abroad and

the group earns substantial receipts in foreign exchange.

The group, with interests in several sectors, including

real estate, construction and sports in India and abroad, 'is

presently managed and controlled by the spiritual leader who

laid the foundation of the group, and his son.'

Raids were initiated on a tip off that the group has been

suppressing receipts that are ploughed into investments in

abroad and landed property in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,

according to the department.

During the searches, evidence was found that the group

has been regularly suppressing its receipts at its various

centres or ashrams.

Evidence was found with key employees, who maintained

record of cash collections that were kept outside the accounts

for use in making investments elsewhere and also for paying

for properties over and above documented values.

'It is learnt that the group also earned unaccounted

income in receiving cash from property sales over and above

documented values.

A preliminary estimate of such unaccounted cash receipts

is Rs 409 crore from Financial Year 2014-15 onwards,' the

release added.

Such unaccounted cash receipts are also evidenced by huge

quantities of cash and other valuables found at the residences

of the spiritual guru and his son, and at one of the campuses.

A total sum of Rs 43.9 crore in cash was seized by the

department during searches.

American currency worth about Rs 18 crore and foreign

exchange in other currencies were also seized.

Undisclosed gold jewellery of about 88 kg valued at over

Rs 26 crore, and similarly diamonds (1,271 carats), valued at

about Rs five crore, were also seized.

'The total value of the seizure so far is approximately

Rs 93 crore. The undisclosed income of the group detected so

far is estimated at more than Rs 500 crore. The search

proceedings are still in progress,' the department said.

A key finding of the search is that the group has been

investing in a number of companies in India and abroad,

including in tax havens.

Some of these companies based in China, USA, Singapore,

UAE, are found to be receiving payments from foreign clients

who attend the various residential 'wellness' courses

offered in India.

The department is probing diversion of income taxable in

India to offshore entities by the group in this process.

Aspects like receiving donations and returning it under

the garb of expenses and receiving a small percentage as fee,

were found.

Instances have also been found where the group was not

accounting money received from foreign clients in cash in

foreign currency and then exchanging the same in the grey

market.

'All these leads are being pursued and investigation is

in progress.'

The tax department, however, refrained from naming Kalki

Bhagwan and instead confined itself to describing him as a

spiritual guru with 'oneness' philosophy. PTI VGN APR

APR APR