Income Tax raids on popular nightclubs, bars and fine dining restaurants for alleged tax evasion and unaccounted cash income siphoned to business associates heralded the new year in Goa.
Popular high end night club Hammerzz at Calangute, open air Titli Culinary Bar at Orzan Beach, Vagator, the upscale Greek tavern Thalassa at Siolim and Morjim, sundowner bar Romeo Lane on Vagator beach were among the 40 odd premises raided by the Income Tax department on Tuesday morning.
60 Individuals' Residences Raided
The taxmen also raided the residences of about 60 individuals, including Hammerz nightclub partners Siddhesh Kudtarkar, Ketan Patel and Rajeev Punwani, Greek nationals Mariketty Grana and her son Spiro Grana who run Thalassa, Romeo Lane founders Saurabh Luthra and Gaurav Luthra.
According to Income Tax officials, the promoters and management of Hammerz nightclub were conduits for cash collections of all the major nightclubs and bars in Goa and illegal money transfers abroad through hawala channels.
Siddhesh Kudtarkar founder of Team Innovation is also named in Mumbai Police FIR for illegal sale of India New Zealand semi final match tickets last November in black.
Mahadev book promoter Saurabh Chandrasekhar had laundered cricket betting and match fixing profits and investing in Team Innovation LLP founded by Mohit Bijlani and Siddhesh Kudtarkar to run nightclubs and bars in Goa, Dubai and London.
I-T Response Over The Raids
“Most of the nightclubs and bars underreported the revenue and did not maintain proper books of accounts. The hospitality business is booming with record number of tourists visiting Goa for Diwali, Christmas and New Year but the tax returns do not match the business generated,” contended a senior Income Tax official.
The raids have put a dampener on the festive spirits and roaring business of nightclubs, bars and restaurants in north Goa.