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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ashok Mittal and wanted hawala dealer Nandkishore Chaturvedi invested in Hotel Royal Plaza through Hillcrest, an illicit foreign shell company, according to an IT probe

Ashok Mittal and wanted hawala dealer Nandkishore Chaturvedi invested in the Hotel Royal Plaza through Hillcrest, an illicit foreign shell company, according to an Income Tax probe. Out of the six foreign companies of Ashok Mittal’s Royal Plaza under the IT scrutiny, two of them, Hillcrest and Bamberg, are directly involved in laundering the black money investment to the tune of Rs 29 crores in the hotel in 2003, masking it as a FDI (foreign direct investment). The Hillcrest has ties with Mittal as well as Chaturvedi, and both have played a crucial role in facilitating the illegal money laundering scheme and later ousting the owner, RP Mittal, and taking control of the hotel.

RP Mittal has already challenged the illegal takeover of the hotel’s management and operation using Hillcrest before the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal). The case is currently undergoing legal proceedings, and a final decision is expected soon.

The lid over black money and illegal investments made through off-shore companies in the hotel plaza and nexus between Ashok Mittal and Nandkishore Chaturvedi was discovered when the IT seluths raided the hotel premises and other businesses of Ashok Mittal in July 07, 2022. Following the recovery of incriminating documents and evidence of high value cash transactions, large-scale tax evasions, the IT department opened an LOC (Look out Circular) on July 13, 2022 against Ashok Mittal and his family members. He was also served notice under the stringent Black Money Act. The IT notice was sent to Mittal in accordance with Section 10 of the Black Money and Imposition Tax Act, 2015. It was discovered that two of these businesses—Hillcrest Realty SDN BHD and Bamberg Management Inc.—based in Malaysia and the British Virgin Islands (a well-known tax haven), respectively, were involved in the rerouting of illicit funds masquerading as foreign direct investment in Hotel Queen Road Pvt. Ltd. (HQRP), the parent company of Hotel Royal Plaza, in 2003.

The six companies served notices are: 1. Bamberg Management Inc., British Virgin Island 2. Hillcrest Realty SDN BHD, Malaysia 3. Snowdonla Overseas Ltd., British Virgin Island 4. Super Gold Trading DMCC, Dubai 5. Danube Trading F.Z.C.-Dubai 6. North West Trading FZE-Dubai.

Earlier, on July 12, 2022, Amitabh Mishra, Deputy Director of Income Tax, wrote a letter to the Deputy Director, Immigration, requesting the opening of an LOC against Ashok Mittal and his family members for their roles in tax evasion cases under their probe. Under the subject issue of LOC, the department gave details of their passports: Ashok Kumar Mittal (PASSPORT NO. Z3541677, COUNTRY OF ISSUE: INDIA). The department also provided information on their travel history and any other relevant details. The letter states that the search and seizure action under Section 132 of the Income-tax Act of 1961 was carried out in the case of Ashok Mittal, Vikram Mittal, and his companies. “During the course of the search action, evidence showing high-value cash transactions and undisclosed foreign assets of Ashok Kumar Mittal, Vikram Mittal, Ruchi Mittal, and Nirupama Mittal has been found, which would have huge tax implications for them along with other consequences under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Imposition of Tax Act 2015, which include their criminal prosecutions,” highlighting the seriousness of the offence committed by them. “They appear to have committed offences under sections 50 {Failure to furnish return in relation to foreign income and asset), 51(1) [wilful attempt to evade tax, etc.] under the Black Money Undisclosed Foreign Income and Asset) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, which are punishable with rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years and 10 years, respectively, and a fine.” Further emphasising their high possibility of running away, the letter says: “There are very high possibilities that the individuals may try to escape from India so as to avoid their tax liabilities, which are likely to be substantial amounts, as well as other related penal consequences.”

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