Five food chains in Chennai including the famous Saravana Bhavan group, were raided by Income Tax Officials on Thursday.
Saravana Bhavan, Hot Bread, Anjappal and two groups under Grand Sweets were raided after alleged charges of tax evasion, Income Tax department officials confirmed.
“We believe these groups suppress large-scale income from their domestic operations. They have not disclosed income generated in their overseas branches over the last several years. We would be able to assess the quantum of tax evasion only after the raids,” a senior officer said as reported by a news agency.
Saravana Bhavan, founded by P Rajagopal, is the largets South Indian restaurants in the world with over 33 restaurants across the country. The restaurant also has 47 outlets across the border including the UK, The US, France and Australia.
The Anjappar group has 70 outlets, including a few outside India. Bakery chain Hot Breads has branches in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry. Known for their sweets and snacks, Grand Sweets has been in the business for the last 25 years.
The residences and offices of the directors of these food-joint chains are being raided by a team of over 100 I-T sleuths, the officials said.
These hotels serve some of the best south Indian delicacies, including cakes, pastries and sweets that are even shipped abroad, a senior official said.
The officials added that the department is looking into allegations of suppression of income by these groups by various means and hence decided to conduct searches and obtain further evidences.