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Fresh evidence by IT dept adds twist to VVIP chopper scam

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New Delhi, Aug 01: The Income Tax Department has unearthed fresh evidence in the VVIP choppers scam case after raiding a Hyderabad-based group which purportedly had dealings with Rajiv Saxena, who has been arrested in the case, the CBDT said on Wednesday.

It said in a statement that tax sleuths searched the premises of a business group on July 24, that is engaged in conducting seismic data analysis, and found four undisclosed foreign bank accounts, three un-reported companies based in tax havens, unexplained cash of Rs 45 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 3.1 crore.

Fresh evidence by IT dept adds twist to VVIP chopper scam

While the statement did not identify the company or its promoter, official sources named the Hyderabad-based firm as AlphaGeo and its promoter and CMD as Dinesh Alla.

The company did not respond to email and phone calls made by PTI.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes, which frames policy for the tax department, alleged in the statement the group "indulged in large scale over-invoicing of imports through a Dubai-based operator who is an accused in a VVIP chopper scam."

The sources identified the accused as Rajiv Saxena, deported to India from Dubai early this year in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers scam case.

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On his deportation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Saxena and he is now in judicial custody.

CBDT said the surplus funds generated by the Hyderabad-based firm through alleged over-invoicing totalled USD 6 million and it was parked in Dubai-based accounts of Saxena.

"During the search, incriminating evidence including email and mobile conversations were found between the main director of the searched company and the Dubai-based operator (Saxena), pertaining to over-invoicing of imports," it said.

When confronted, the statement said, the persons concerned admitted to over-invoicing.

The raid, conducted by the Delhi investigation wing of the department, led to detection of at least four additional undisclosed foreign bank accounts in UBS Bank in Switzerland, OCBC Bank in Singapore, Citizens Bank in the US and Bank of Nevis International in St Kitts (Caribbean islands).

Moreover, three undisclosed companies of the promoter in tax havens like British Virgin Islands, Island of Nevis and Singapore were also detected, it said.

The unexplained cash amounting to Rs 45 lakh has been seized and the jewellery with an estimated worth of Rs 3.1 crore is being verified, the statement added.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it to secure the deal.

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