On Tuesday this week, the Income Tax Department has conducted search and seizure actions in the case of a leading advocate practising in the field of commercial arbitration and alternate dispute resolution. It was suspected that the lawyer was receiving substantial amounts in cash from his clients for settling their disputes.

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The cash amount of Rs.5.5 crores was found during these search operations which got seized, and about 10 lockers have been placed under restraint. Incriminating documents of unaccounted cash transactions and investments made by the assessee over several years were also found. And some important digital data was also recovered which reflected unaccounted transactions of the assessee and his associates, who are financers and builders.

The search operations have revealed some of the dealings done by the lawyer in which one of the cases, the assessee had received Rs.117 crores from a client in cash, whereas he had shown only Rs.21 crore in his records, which was received through cheque. In another case, he received more than Rs.100 crore in cash from an infrastructure and engineering company for its arbitration proceedings with a public sector company.

All the unaccounted cash amounts received by the lawyer was either invested in the purchase of residential and commercial properties or in taking over of trusts engaged in running of schools. Shreds of evidence recovered from the search operations indicate that an investment of more than Rs.100 crores in cash was made in several properties in posh areas in the last two years. The assessee and his associates have also purchased several schools and properties, for which also more than Rs.100 crore was paid in cash.

The Income Tax department is conducting further investigations which are still in progress.

With Warm Regards,

CL Bureau.

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