The investigation wing of the income tax
(I-T) department has raised doubt on the inter se transaction between the real estate
arm of K Raheja group and its erstwhile retail arm Hypercity Retail
India. Tax officials are investigating whether the transaction was structured to evade tax.
However, the company has denied the allegation. “The group always maintains arm’s length with proper corporate governance for all transactions. Following the provisions of law, the Hypercity transaction has also followed similar process,” the company spokesperson said.
According to sources, the I-T department is examining the books of accounts of Hypercity and other group companies
of the conglomerate to see if there is any discrepancy in the transaction.
I-T sources said that the department was probing an income of Rs 150 crore in Hypercity’s accounts, likely to be transferred from a group company. I-T is examining whether the K Raheja group had offset the said income with losses made by Hypercity.
Hypercity is a loss-making company with accumulated losses of Rs 711 crore as on March 2017.
According to an I-T officer, the group had transferred income on the sale of about 12-15 flats each in the range of Rs 22-25 crore between 2010 and 2015. These flats were in a luxury project in Worli, an upscale Mumbai neighbourhood.
The revelation came during the examination of documents seized during the search operation conducted on K Raheja group companies
including Shoppers Stop
last month. The searches were carried out at the group’s 26 premises in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad
However, a source who is aware of the transaction said, “The retail arm (Hypercity) had taken a decision back then to venture into real estate
business and as part of that venture, it decided to book apartments with the intention of resale at an appropriate time.”
Explaining the modus operandi, an I-T officer said that typically a real estate
developer sells flats to a group entity say at 40 per cent of the market price. When an actual buyer comes in, the developer asks the buyer to buy the flat from this entity. The profit is then shared between the developer and the entity.
While the matter is yet to be concluded, the tax official said that a company like Hypercity could set off profits on the sale of property against its losses in the retail business.