The Income Tax Department has raided a "leading" Chandigarh-based advocate on charges of alleged tax evasion and receiving at least Rs 217 crore "in cash", tax officials said on Thursday.
They said the department raided 38 premises linked to the lawyer in Haryana, Delhi and the national capital region on Wednesday, they said.
Cash amounting to Rs 5.5 crore has been seized during the searches carried out against the advocate practising in the field of commercial arbitration and alternate dispute resolution, the CBDT said in a statement.
The Board did not identify the advocate. Ten bank lockers have been put under restraint, it said.
"He was suspected to be receiving substantial amounts in cash from his clients to settle their disputes. Incriminating documents of unaccounted cash transactions and investments made by the assessee over several years have been found," the department said.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), that frames policy for the tax department, alleged that the lawyer in one case "had 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, the CBDT claimed.
"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. Evidences recovered indicate investment of more than Rs 100 crore in cash in several properties in posh areas in the last two years," it said.
The assessee and his associates have also purchased several schools and properties, for which more than Rs 100 crore was "paid in cash", it said.
He has also taken accommodation entries (hawala funds) worth several crores, it said.
The Board said the search teams have also recovered "substantial digital data reflecting unaccounted transactions of the assessee and his associates who are financiers and builders".