Tax officials search Chettinad group for third day

Chennai, June 12 (IANS) The search by Income Tax (IT) officials at various offices of Chettinad group suspecting tax evasion entered third day on Friday, a senior official said.

“The search operations are still on. It is not yet over. A senior official is expected to brief the media later on the issue,” the official told IANS preferring anonymity.

The official said the search is for suspected evasion of income tax and the quantum of evasion cannot be estimated now.

A 450-member team of IT officials launched their multi-city search at various offices of city based Chettinad group of companies on Wednesday. The search raids were carried out in the group’s offices in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

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

Officials declined that the raids were linked with the ongoing family feud between M.A.M. Ramaswamy, the former chairman of the Chettinad group, and his adopted son M.A.M.R. Muthiah.

Muthiah now heads the Chettinad group of companies.

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

Interestingly, the IT raids began a day after Ramaswamy, the former chairman and director of Chettinad Cement, alleged that the company owed the government huge amount in sales tax.

“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 on Thursday while disowning 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 Thursday, Ramaswamy while disowning his adopted son declared that Muthiah should not perform any ceremonies or obsequies on his demise.

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