The vigilant Income Tax Department conducted search operations at over 25 premises of Gujarat builders Shivalik, Shilp and Sharda Groups. Over 150 officials are deployed at offices and residences of these builders groups. The investigation is expected to last for the next 48 hours.
On the second day of the investigation by the Income Tax department, the team seized Rs 4 crore cash, jewellery worth Rs 3 crore and various digital documents–that will take around 10 days to process.
Over 20 lockers are seized but till date, only one of them is checked as of now. Earlier, on February 10, the team had identified Rs 1 crore in cash. Overall tax evasion of over Rs 500 crore is speculated.
Shivalik, Shilp and Sharda–joint ventures
Shivalik, Shilp and Sharda real estate groups are connected and have many of their projects as joint ventures. Their professional association is likely the reason behind all three of them going under the Income Tax radar–together.
Deepak Nimbark has worked closely with Chitrak Shah’s Shivalik group. In 2018, Nimbark in association with Chitrak Shah, had purchased a 78-apartment scheme (of 2 and 3 bedroom-hall-kitchen for Rs1.24 cr and 1.72 cr respectively per apartment) near AMA road.
“We wanted to investigate the Shivalik Group and their unaccounted income but as they are closely associated with other two Shilp and Sharda builders, we had to raid all three of them to get a holistic idea of accumulated tax evasion. Many digital documents of Shivalik also have references to the other two.” said a source from the investigation department of Income Tax.
Investigation dossier was signed in 2021
The dossier to raid these builders was signed last year. Over two months of observation and prior investigation were done before the I-T department raided the builders on Feb 10.
“I-T officials posed as clients to check if the builders offer properties with cash payment. Several such stings were done before the actual raid. We received the dossier last year and we gave it a ‘Satisfactory note’; a green light to investigate the builder because they match our checklist of tax evasion criteria.” said a well-placed source from the Income Tax department, Gujarat. These builders had agreed to offer properties with cash payment; only a 10% cheque payment was required.
- Shivalik Group
Chitrak Shah is the owner of Shivalik Group. In 1996 he began his work with the brand name ‘SN Developers’. In 2001, he changed the brand name to ‘Shivalik’. He is also one of the Vice Presidents of GIHED Credai and a co-founder at EO (Entrepreneurs Organisation).
His major retail projects include Enclave, Harmony, Avenue, Parkview 2, Platinum, Shivalik Square, Shivalik Shilp -II, Shivalik Shilp, Shivalik Satyamev. His home schemes include Parkview 2, Harmony, Edge, Platinum, Enclave and Avenue.
- Shilp Group
The Income Tax department has raided Shilp Group headquarter located beside Rajpath Club, Bodakdev. The real estate group is run by broker turned builder Yash Brahmbhatt and COO wife Snehal Brahmbhatt. Snehal handles the communication, PR and media relations of the group. She is also the owner of Yasmin Karachiwala Body Image Studio, Sindhu Bhavan, Ahmedabad besides running a beauty salon in Bodakdev.
- Sharda Realty
Sharda Realty was founded by Deepak Nimbark in 2010 after restructuring Vishwanath Group–co-founded in 1996.
Some of their projects include Ishaan series (Ishaan 1- 3), Shaligram series (Shaligram 1-3), Sharanam series (Sharanam 1-12), Shivalik Sharda Harmony, Shivalik Sharda Parkview and others. An income tax source told Vo! that they received information of immense police patronage to this group.
Out of 30 locations under Income Tax radar only two are investigated as of February 11. Out of a total 20 lockers at the builders premises, 19 are yet to be checked. The investigation is still underway.