Millennium Post

I-T raids at Bharat Hotels reveal alleged black foreign assets worth Rs 1,000 cr

New Delhi: Days after conducting raids at the premises related to Jyotsna Suri-led Bharat Hotels, which is the parent company of the luxurious Lalit Group of Hotels, the Income Tax department has discovered that the group had allegedly amassed undisclosed foreign assets worth over Rs 1,000 crore, in addition to purportedly evading domestic taxes worth more than Rs 35 crore.

The foreign assets discovered so far include investment in a UK hotel, immovable properties in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates and deposits with banks abroad, said the tax department, adding that further probe in the matter in underway.

The I-T department had conducted searches at 13 locations in and around Delhi in connection with the case on January 19, adding that the group was already on their radar for alleged undisclosed foreign assets. Officials here said that the searches resulted in the recovery of Rs 71.5 lakh in cash, jewellery worth Rs 23 crore and luxury watches worth Rs 1.2 crore.

According to tax officials, Bharat Hotels had allegedly stashed large amounts of black money abroad through Trust companies, allegedly created in the early 1990s in tax haven countries. Officials here added that such alleged foreign holdings of the key personnel of the group were purportedly hidden for decades under what they called a web of complex multi-layered structures in countries across the world. Tax officials also claimed that one of the promoter family's close relatives was allegedly deliberately introduced as a front to purportedly evade domestic tax laws.

The findings from the tax department's searches have prompted officials to say that this might lead to consequences under the Black Money Act for the alleged undisclosed foreign assets of over Rs 1,000 crore and the Income Tax Act for the alleged domestic tax evasion of more than Rs 35 crore.

Suri, who's also the founder president of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries), had taken over as Bharat Hotels MD after the death of her husband, Lalit Suri, in 2006.

Headquartered in New Delhi, the company opened its first hotel here in 1988. It offers twelve luxury hotels, places and resorts and two mid-market segment hotels under The LaLiT Traveller brand.

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