Even before the dust could settle on the succession issue involving the Chettinad family, the Income Tax department came knocking on their doors.
On Wednesday, Income Tax officials conducted raids on 33 places, including offices and houses belonging to industrialist MAM Ramaswamy and Chettinad Group’s Managing Director, MAMR Muthiah (also known as Ayyappan), suspecting tax evasion.
400 officials deputed
The taxmen searched offices also in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. The search began at 8 a.m. and 400 officials were deputed for the purpose.
“We got information that they have been evading tax for the last six years. We have been watching this for last six months now,” said an Income Tax Official, who wished anonymity. “The raids have got nothing to do with the family feud,” he added.
Both Mr. Ramaswamy and Mr. Muthiah were not available for comments.
On Tuesday when Mr. Ramaswamy disowned his foster son Mr. Muthiah, he made a comment that the latter has not paid sales tax. “He has not paid sales tax. This is public money. The amount is more than Rs. 252 crore,” Mr. Ramaswamy had said.
The Chettinad Group has various businesses interests including in cement, education, construction, power, trading, transportation, steel fabrication and coal terminal. The group has a medical university, Chettinad College of Engineering and Technology and a school.
The group also has a stud farm at Ponneri, which has more than 250 broodmares, 125 foals and an equal number of yearlings.
According to the group’s website, its turnover is Rs. 4,000 crore.