Property dealer Mahesh Shah, who had declared a whopping Rs 13,860 crore of undisclosed wealth under the Income Declaration Scheme(IDS), and was missing for the last few days, made a dramatic appearance on a television show in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on Saturday night claiming that the money did not belong to him but to politicians and businessmen on whose behalf he made the wealth declaration as a proxy.
“The amount of Rs 13,860 crore that I declared under IDS was not mine, I will tell the names of those behind it before income tax officials. I made the declaration out of compulsion and to earn commission. I have committed a mistake but I will reveal everything soon.Everything will come out, I will bring everything out,” Mahesh Shah told the channel.
Income tax raids were conducted on Shah’s office and residential premises after he failed to pay the first instalment of tax due – Rs 1,560 crore – on the declaration of Rs 13,860 crore he made under the IDS.this was the point he went missing.
“Those whose money was disclosed under the IDS backed out at the last moment, so I could not pay the first instalment of tax to the income tax department,” he said.
Asked by the channel’s anchor if the money belonged to any businessman or politician, Shah said it belonged to “several persons”. He, however, refused to reveal the names, saying he would do that only in front of income tax officials.
Shah’s disclosure under the Centre’s IDS, which ended in September, accounts for nearly 20% of the total Rs 65,000 crore declared under the scheme. This may spell trouble for the ruling party as Gujarat is the citadel for the BJP which has remained in power there for the last 20 years.