Business

Income Tax Department Hammers South India's Top Food Courts Including Saravana Bhavan Group

HARSH RANJAN | 0
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| January 3 , 2019 , 16:31 IST

The Income Tax Department on Thursday charged some of the best-known food courts in Tamil Nadu against tax evasion.

IT officials raided five popular restaurant chains in Chennai, including the Saravana Bhavan group Bread, Anjappal and Grand Sweets.

Over 100 IT sleuths carried out the raids at the residences and offices of the directors of these food joint chains and the hunt is still on at 32 locations in the city.

Speaking to media, a senior IT official said, "Income Tax department officials said the searches are being done following complaints of alleged tax evasion. "We have information that these groups have been indulging in large-scale tax evasion over the last several years. Only after the investigation at these places, we would be able to assess."

Saravana Bhavan, the most well-known among the five restaurant groups, has its outlets in 20 countries including the US, the UK, France and Australia. It was founded by P Rajagopal.

The Anjappar group has 70 outlets, including a few outside India. Bakery chain Hot Breads has branches in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry. Known for their sweets and snacks, Grand Sweets has been in the business for the last 25 years.

A senior official said that these hotels serve some of the best south Indian edibles, including cakes, pastries and sweets that are even shipped abroad.

The department is looking into allegations of suppression of income by these groups by various means and hence decided to conduct searches and obtain further shreds of evidence, the official added.

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the Sandalwood film industry was in a state of shock after Income Tax officials swooped down on homes of producer Rockline Venkatesh and power star Puneet Rajkumar on Thursday.

Residences of KGF star Yash, film producer Jayanna, actor Sudeep and Shivrajkumar were also raided. Eight officers, who arrived in two vehicles, raided the house of Venkatesh in Mahalakshmi Layout and Rajkumar's residence in Sadashivnagar.

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According to reports, there were allegations that the producers are investing huge money in film production in an attempt to convert their black money. It is said that they were also making large profits that went unreported.