Chennai: The income tax officials on Thursday morning conducted raids on 100 premises connected to one of the country’s biggest mining company VV Minerals and its associate companies in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as a part of tax evasion probe against the company.
The searches were conducted by 400 income tax officials simultaneously at locations of four mining companies owned by S. Vaikundarajan and his associates in Chennai, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Coimbatore and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu and Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.
The houses of Vaikundarajan’s relatives and his company’s employees were also searched, according to the sources.
The companies searched are involved in mining and export of beach sand minerals in an alleged illegal manner that led to tax evasion probe charges against them.
In Chennai, the VV Minerals has its corporate office on Pantheon road in Egmore and another office at Thiruvanmiyur. Two teams of I-T officials launched simultaneous searches there from 6 am on Thursday.
A TV news channel owned by Vaikundarajan also came under income tax searches.
The company has been accused of illegal beach sand mining in the state, despite the Madras high court’s 2013 ban.
In April 2017, a report submitted before the Madras HC alleged that V.V Minerals had been mining and transporting minerals without proper documentation. In June 2018, IAS officer Gagandeep Singh Bedi who was tasked with probing illegal sand mining in the state by the Tamil Nadu government submitted a report.
Appearing before the court, VV Minerals had argued that the report was in its favour, clearing its name. “The committee report is in my favour barring five or six findings... It overwhelmingly endorses what I have been saying,” VV Minerals’ counsel reportedly stated in court.