A flat owned by the former principal advisor to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in an upscale south Bombay neighbourhood has evoked the interest of Income Tax authorities who have alleged that the property's previous owner was a "shell entity" that had been created to hold "benami properties", reported The Indian Express.
Ajoy Mehta – who is the chairman of the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority and had previously served as the state's chief secretary and Mumbai municipal commissioner – had purchased the Nariman Point apartment in October 2020.
According to the report, the apartment in Samta Cooperative Housing Society was sold to Mehta for Rs 5.33 crore by Anamitra Properties Pvt Ltd – a Pune-based concern.
I-T Seluths alleged that a transaction in May 2009 – through which Anamitra Properties acquired the said apartment – was 'benami' as the shareholders were people of low-income groups and had "knowledge of ownership".
However, Mehta, in his statement to The Indian Express, said that he had followed 'due procedure' in the course of purchasing the flat.
He added that the payment made by him was in accordance with market rates. "I am a taxpayer and I don’t know where this is coming from,” he said.
Citing an I-T department notice, the report says that Kamesh Nathuni Singh, who owns 99 percent stake in Anamitra Properties, lives in a chawl in a western Mumbai suburb. Dipesh Ravindra Singh, the second shareholder, furnished an income of Rs 1.71 lakh in 2020-21.
The notice added that since the company has an authorised paid-up capital of Rs 1 lakh each and since it has "not been conducting any business", it should be treated as a benami property holder.