The Income Tax (I-T) department sleuths were raiding more than 25 premises belonging to Jeppiaar Educational Trust suspecting tax evasion, since Thursday morning. The trust runs several engineering colleges and a school around the city.
Search teams have reportedly seized several documents during the raids and the operation was going on till late in the evening.
Investigators believe that in most of the educational institutions managed by the Jeppiaar Trust, many transactions have taken place in liquid cash with no records. These transactions lead to unaccounted cash flow which in turn result in black money accumulation and tax evasion, officials noted when asked about the reason behind the searches.
There are at least a dozen technical institutions and a school run by the Jeppiaar management. The I-T department expects to get a clear picture about the unaccounted cash belonging to the group once the searches are complete.
It may be recalled that Income Tax sleuths had raided an engineering college belonging to Jeppiaar group in the city three years ago following allegation that the college management had deposited black money in the accounts of its employees immediately after Central government announced the move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The I-T department raided the college and came to know that a few crores of rupees were deposited in the accounts of 400 employees.
There was unconfirmed information that several private institutions handling unaccounted cash were using their employees’ bank accounts to deposit black money to convert it at that time.
Jeppiaar, who passed away in the year 2016, was a politician close to AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran and he was the one the pioneers in the privatisation of engineering education after the death of his mentor.