Noted businesswoman Jyotsna Suri, promoter of Lalit Hotels and Bharat Hotels Group is now caught for stashing Rs.1000 crores-worth assets abroad illegally. The Income Tax Department (IT) on Friday after conducting a two-three days-long search declared that she acquired a thousand crores worth assets in many foreign countries and was involved in tax evasion and be prosecuted under the new Black Money Act and Benami Act.
The Income Tax authorities revealed that Jyotsna Suri is owning assets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK) and having several bank accounts that were not at all declared and would be liable for prosecution under the Black Money Act also
The IT raid at Jyotsna Suri’s home and offices have got the rumor mills buzzing in Delhi and Mumbai business circles. Jyotsna Suri, the wife of hotelier late Lalit Suri, is well known for her proximity with former Finance Minister late Arun Jaitley. Lalit Suri and his wife were also very close to many top politicians including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Jyotsna’s private jet was available to many political heavy weights. She was also the head of many Industrial bodies such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
The Income Tax authorities revealed that Jyotsna Suri is owning assets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK) and having several bank accounts that were not at all declared and would be liable for prosecution under the Black Money Act also. “The investigation has successfully lifted the veil, leading to detection of undisclosed foreign assets of more than Rs.1,000 crores, apart from domestic tax evasion of more than Rs.35 crores which may lead to consequences under the Black Money Act, 2015, as also, action under the I-T Act respectively,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said.
“Foreign assets include investment in a hotel in the UK, immovable properties in UK and UAE and deposits with foreign banks,” it said. The CBDT said the group is a “leading member of the hospitality industry, running a hotel abroad and a chain of luxury hotels under a prominent brand name situated at various locations in India”.
“The search operation has so far resulted in the seizure of unaccounted assets valued at Rs.24.93 crores that include Rs.71.5 lakhs in cash, jewellery worth Rs.23 crores and expensive watches valued at Rs.1.2 crores,” the statement said. The department had launched raids at 13 premises of the group, Suri and others on January 19 in and around Delhi.
In mid-2014, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in his petition in the Black Money case (intervening application in Ram Jethmalani’s main case) in Supreme Court accused Bharat Hotels of illegally obtaining the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance during Chidambaram’s tenure and routed more than Rs.200 crores. Swamy’s petition said that the FIPB clearance was given to a London based firm Richmond Enterprises to invest only Rs.50 lakhs and that the actual money that came was more than Rs.200 cores (reminds one of INX Media!), citing the documents. There was no company named Richmond Enterprises in London and the firm was actually from Panama Islands, a tax haven.
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