New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Law firm Singh & Associates has been raided by the Income Tax Department on Thursday as part of a raid on its founding partner, Manoj K Singh, Legally India reported.

The Income Tax Department had carried out a “search and seizure action… in the case of a leading advocate practicing in the field of commercial arbitration and alternate dispute resolution”, across 38 properties in Delhi, NCR and Haryana.

The department said that it had recovered Rs 5.5 crore in cash and found “incriminating documents of unaccounted cash transactions and investments” over several years, including “substantial digital data reflecting unaccounted transactions of the assessee and his associates, who are financers and builders”.

“The department did not name the advocate, but we understand according to two authoritative sources with knowledge of the raid, that the firm’s managing partner Manoj Kumar Singh was the target”, Legally India said.

The report said besides being the founder of Singh & Associates, Manoj K Singh was only last month elected as chairman of the Delhi bar Council’s executive committee, and is part of the Bar Council’s rules committee, according to a press release on September 9, 2020. Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta was elected chairman, with Himal Akhtar as vice-chairman of the Delhi bar council at the same time, it said.

The Income Tax Department said the advocate was “suspected to be receiving substantial amounts in cash from his clients, to settle their disputes”, and had allegedly “received Rs. 117 crore from a client in cash, whereas he had shown only Rs 21 crore in his records, which was received through cheque”.

“In another case, he received more than Rs. 100 crore in cash from an infrastructure and engineering company for its arbitration proceedings with a public sector company,” claimed the department.

The tax department alleged in its statement that the “unaccounted cash received, has been invested by the assessee in purchase of residential and commercial properties and in taking over of trusts engaged in running of schools”, adding: “Evidences recovered indicate investment of more than Rs. 100 crore in cash in several properties in posh areas in the last two years. The assessee and his associates have also purchased several schools and properties, for which also more than Rs. 100 crore was paid in cash. He has also taken accommodation entries worth several crores.”

According to Legally India, Singh is not the first law firm founder to have faced raids from the tax man.

In 2016, T&T Law founder Rohit Tandon declared Rs 125 crore to the It Department after a raid.

In 2019, prior to the arrest of OP Khaitan & Co managing partner Gautam Khaitan for alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, he had been raided by the Income Tax authorities.

–IANS

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