IT searches continue at Chettinad group offices

Chennai, June 11 (IANS) A 450-member team of Income Tax (IT) department officials on Thursday continued their search operations at various offices of the Chettinad group of companies in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, said a senior official.

He said the searches, which entered its second day on Thursday, are likely to continue on Friday as well. The official said details of the search operation will be shared with the media later.

“Search operations at the offices of the Chettinad group of companies continued for second day. It is likely to continue tomorrow (Friday) also,” the official told IANS.

Searches were conducted at 45 locations in the three states.

“The reason for the raid is suspected evasion of taxes,” the official said.

The Chettinad group has interests in cement, logistics, education, health care, coal terminal and others.

Officials said the search is not connected with the on-going family feud between M.A.M. Ramaswamy, the former chairman of the Chettinad group, and his adopted son M.A.M.R. Muthiah, who now heads the Chettinad group of companies.

Last year, Ramaswamy was ousted as the director of Chettinad Cement and consequently lost his chairman post.

The IT searches began a day after Ramaswamy alleged that the company owes the government a huge sum in sales tax dues.

“The government has told the company to pay up a minimum of around Rs.252 crore before negotiations can take place,” Ramaswamy said at a press conference called on Tuesday to disown his adopted son M.A.M.R. Muthiah, the managing director of the group.

Asked for clarifications on the sales tax issue, Muthiah had told IANS: “The company does not owe any sales tax dues to the government. The company pays its dues every month.”

“Ramaswamy is an outsider to the company. He is not associated with the company in any capacity now. One should not take an outsider’s charges seriously and ask for clarifications,” he said.

On Tuesday, Ramaswamy disowned his adopted son declared that Muthiah should not perform any ceremonies or obsequies on his demise.

A source close to Ramaswamy told IANS that IT officials on Wednesday had visited Ramaswamy’s residence and sought some documents.

“He (Ramaswamy) told his staff to cooperate and give the needed documents,” the source told IANS.

On Thursday also IT officials were at the Chettinad House, where Ramaswamy resides.

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