Eminent businesswoman Jyotsana Suri, promoter of Lalit Hotels and Bharat Hotels Group is caught for stashing Rs.1,000 crores-worth assets abroad illegally. The Income Tax Department conducted a two-three day search at her residences and offices in Delhi and Mumbai. She is now booked under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 and the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
Jyotsana Suri, wife of hotelier late Lalit Suri is known for her proximity to the former Finance Minister, Late Arun Jaitley. She was also the head of many Industrial bodies such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
The Income Tax authorities revealed that Jyotsna Suri owned assets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK) and had several bank accounts that were not declared and would be liable for prosecution under the Black Money Act also. “The investigation has successfully lifted the veil, leading to detection of undisclosed foreign assets of more than Rs.1,000 crores, apart from domestic tax evasion of more than Rs.35 crores which may lead to consequences under the Black Money Act, 2015, as also, action under the I-T Act respectively,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said.
“Foreign assets include investment in a hotel in the UK, immovable properties in UK and UAE and deposits with foreign banks,” it said. The CBDT said the group is a “leading member of the hospitality industry, running a hotel abroad and a chain of luxury hotels under a prominent brand name situated at various locations in India”.
“The search operation has so far resulted in the seizure of unaccounted assets valued at Rs.24.93 crores that include Rs.71.5 lakhs in cash, jewellery worth Rs.23 crores and expensive watches valued at Rs.1.2 crores,” the statement said. The department had launched raids at 13 premises of the group, Suri and others on 19 January, 2020 in and around Delhi.
In 2014 , BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy in his petition to the Supreme Court accused Bharat Hotels of illegally obtaining the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance during Chidambaram’s tenure and routed more than Rs.200 crores.
Author: Nandini Gandhi