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I-T dept raids ‘wellness group’ campuses in Chennai, Bangalore and AP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 18, 2019 Published on October 18, 2019

Total value of seizure so far is about Rs 93 crore

The Income Tax Department has conducted search action on a conglomerate of trusts and companies that run year-round "wellness courses" and training programmes in philosophy and spiritualityat various sprawling residential campuses in Varadaiahpalem in AP, and also in Chennai and Bangalore.

The group which was founded by a spiritual guru in the 1980s with “oneness” philosophy has also diversified into several sectors including real estate, construction and sports in India and abroad.

The group is presently managed and controlled by the spiritual leader who laid the foundation of the group, and his son.

The courses attract residential customers from abroad and the group earns substantial receipts in foreign exchange. There was intelligence that the group has been suppressing its receipts, which are ploughed into investment in huge tracts of landed property in AP and TN and also as investments abroad, an official release said.

The search action which is still in progress has covered about 40 premises located in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Varadaiahpalem.

During the search proceedings, evidence was found that the group has been regularly suppressing its receipts at its various centres or ashrams.

It has also been found with key employees who maintained record of cash collections that were kept outside the accounts made investments elsewhere and also paid for properties over and above documented values, the release added.

It is learnt that the group also earned unaccounted income in receiving cash from property sales over and above documented values. A preliminary estimate of such unaccounted cash receipts is Rs. 409 crore from FY 2014-15 onwards. Such unaccounted cash receipts are also evidenced by huge quantities of cash and other valuables found at the residences of the founder and his son, and at one of the campuses. A total sum of cash of Rs. 43.9 crore has been found and seized by the Department at these premises.

Apart from the above, substantial sums of foreign currencies have also been found and seized. The total of such foreign exchange found at these premises is about $2.5 million, which amounts to about Rs 18 crore. Foreign exchange in other currencies has also been found and seized. Substantial quantities of undisclosed gold in the form of jewellery, about 88 kg approximately valued at over Rs 26 crore, has also been found and seized.

Undisclosed diamonds amounting to 1,271 carats valued approximately at about Rs. 5 crore were also found and seized. Total value of seizure so far is about Rs 93 crore. The undisclosed income of the group detected so far is estimated at more than Rs 500 crore. The search proceedings are still in progress, the release added.

Published on October 18, 2019
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