Mahesh Shah, a businessman from Gujarat who made a surprising disclosure Rs 13,860 crore in unaccounted wealth under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) two months ago, said on Saturday he was used as a front by some businessmen and politicians to declare the money and would name them soon.
Shah appeared at the ETV studio in Ahmedabad, nearly a week after he went absconding on November 29. Income Tax officers detained the property dealer to question him.
Earlier he told the TV channel that “Rs 13,860 crore I declared under Income Disclosure Scheme is not mine”.
The businessman said he had done the disclosure “out of compulsion” and was promised “commission” for declaring the wealth as his.
“Those whose money was disclosed under IDS backed out at the last moment so I could not pay the first instalment,” Shah said.
He said he had realised the mistake and would reveal “everything soon” after providing all information to the IT department..
“Those whose money was disclosed are businessmen and politicians.”
Shah, 67, shot into the limelight after Income Tax officials raided his residence and office in Ahmedabad following his failure to show up to deposit the first instalment of the wealth he declared under the amnesty scheme.
On Friday, Tehmul Sethna, the chartered accountant who facilitated the declaration before IT officials, said he last spoke to his client on November 29.
Shah visited the Income Tax office on the night of September 30, 2016, the last day of IDS.
He submitted the statutory Form No. 2 under IDS on October 14. The IT department later approved the submission of Form No. 2, which basically meant that the IT department had accepted his declaration.
IDS offered immunity to those who declare their unaccounted income and pay the tax.
Accordingly, Shah was to pay 45 per cent, roughly Rs 6,237 crore, of his declared money as tax. The first tranche, about Rs 1,560 crore, was due on November 30.
However when he failed to pay up, the IT sleuths cancelled his Form No. 2 under Section 193 of the Finance Act, 2016 (IDS) and began search operations on addresses of Shah and his firm.