I-T officials begin probe into Gadkari's Purti Group

Income-Tax (IT) sleuths on Tuesday carried out surreptitious check on several addresses of north-west Mumbai suburbs, provided by firms which had purportedly invested in BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s Purti Group.

While the grapevine had that at least 12 such premises were checked, IT officials from the investigation wing were tight-lipped about the exercise, commenting: “It is a routine check that needs to take place before issuing summons.”

Meanwhile, as the officials were carrying out their “routine check”, Maharashtra Congress president Manikrao Thakre, in a hastily organised press meet, alleged that the BJP chief had cheated farmers in Chandrapur district.

Thakre said: “He (Gadkari) coerced farmers to mortgage their lands and take loans to complete an irrigation project called Aruni Irrigation Co-operative. Thereafter he promised them the land will be used for sugarcane plantations. However, after the loan was sanctioned, farmers were left high and dry. To this day they are paying from their pockets. I have requested the chief minister to look into the matter.”

On the Purti front, for the past few weeks, allegations have been making rounds that several companies were created to channelise funds into Gadkari’s Purti Group. Media reports allude that at least 18 such companies owning nearly 70 per cent shares have directors with no known source of income and fake addresses.

Informed sources disclosed that the investigators began their enquiries by visiting Dube Chawl (Swiftsol India) and Salasar Co-operative Housing Society (Jasika Mercantile Investors) both in Andheri, a chawl in Malad (Chariot Investrade, Regency Equifin and another trading firm).

The revenue investigators also visited far-flung north-eastern suburb of Bhandup, Vidya Vihar as well as satellite sea-side towns like Bhayandar listed as registered offices of investors as well as addresses of some directors named in these firms.

It is learnt that the officials in Nagpur and Pune circle also began their “routine checks” on finance companies having dealings with Purti Group. The enquiry report after it is collated would be passed on to the IT (Investigation wing) of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

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