I-T sleuths found out that like Ahmedabad based businessman Mahesh Shah, Lakshaman Rao does not have any money with him as of now. He hasn’t paid salaries to his employees and is facing some cheque bounce cases involving Rs 9 crore.
These two big fake IDS cases have dashed the hopes of the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) to net an estimated Rs 29,362 crore at the rate of 45% in taxes plus penalty from 64,275 declarants by the end of the current financial year.
The I-T department officials have hinted at criminal action against Rao. “He has taken us for a ride for the past few months and churned out cock and bull stories on the whereabouts of the money he possessed as per his declaration,” an I-T official who preferred anonymity told The Sunday Guardian.
As per rules of the IDS, the identity of the declarants would be kept secret. But, I-T sleuths have been digging details of the big persons only after they failed to pay the first installment of 45% tax plus penalty by 30 November. There are a few more declarants from Hyderabad who had shown black money to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore, but haven’t paid any installment till 7 December.
The first installment was to be paid by 30 November, while the last one is to be paid by 31 March 2017. Ever since Rao filed his IDS declaration, I-T officials were in touch with him to find out how he intended to pay the Rs 1,125 crore, the first installment.
He didn’t pay any money on 30 November, but told I-T officials in Hyderabad that he would pay the amount on 1 December. Believing his words, the officials had alerted SBI in Koti Street to deposit the money. The bank officials had kept ready the cash counting machines and some staff to receive the Rs 1,125 crore cash. However, Rao didn’t turn up nor the money was paid.
When the I-T officials mounted pressure on him, he dodged them by saying that the money was coming in some containers from Nasik in a truck by road. When this, too, turned out to be a hoax, the officials conducted raids on his residential and commercial premises on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Rao later confessed to the sleuths that he had no money with him and that he had filed the declaration due to suggestions from his friends who promised to launder their black money once he gets clearance for his IDS declaration from the CBDT.
Rao told the I-T officials that he wanted to approach some big persons for converting their black money for a commission. Rao wanted to get a threshold limit first from the CBDT and then gather the real black money later, from which the installments can be paid. Rao, who took his voluntary retirement from the public sector company ECIL in Hyderabad in 2007, was into small time real estate business.
He has six to eight private limited companies all named after BLR (B. Lakshman Rao) and all the directors are his family members. He issued cheques to the sellers of some commercial properties and vacant lands in and around the city, but not a single deal was sealed properly as payments were not made fully.
Rao told the I-T officials that he had been helped by a few other middlemen. One Barkas Baba, alias Shoukat Ali, a conman from the city who claims to have a following among the rich, and one Ramu, who is a real estate dealer, are among those who forced Rao to submit the false declaration, sources said. I-T sleuths have referred the case to the top brass of the CBDT and a decision on him would be known by next week, but the local police were directed to file criminal cases on various counts. Officials are also looking at three to four other cases in the city, where declarants defaulted on paying the first installment of their IDS money.