India tax department probe into Infra. Market finds bogus purchases

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India tax department probe into Infra.Market finds bogus purchases, undisclosed income

The Indian Income Tax Department says it has found and seized “a large number of incriminating evidence” that reveal a Pune and Thane-based unicorn startup, referring to Infra.Market, “booked bogus purchases” and disclosed an additional income of more than $29.4 million following a rare probe into a startup.

Infra. Market — a startup, backed by Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners, and Accel and valued at $2.5 billion, that helps construction and real estate companies procure materials and handle logistics for their projects — “made huge unaccounted cash expenditure and obtained accommodation entries, aggregating to the tune of over Rs 400 crore [$52.7 million],” the department said in a statement to the press Sunday.

The executives at the startup, when confronted by the tax authority, “admitted under oath this modus operandi, disclosed additional income of more than Rs. 224 crores [$29.49 million] in various assessment years, and consequently offered to pay their due tax liability,” the department said.

Souvik Sengupta, co-founder, and chief executive of Infra.Market, did not return a text seeking comment.

The startup is said to be closing a new round that would value it at $4 billion, Indian news outlet Entrackr reported in November.

The department, whose investigations are ongoing, said it also found a “complex hawala network of some Mumbai and Thane-based shell companies” that exist only on paper and have been created for the “purpose of providing accommodation entries.”

“Preliminary analysis has revealed that the total quantum of accommodation entries provided by these shell entities exceeds Rs. 1,500 crore. So far, unannounced cash of Rs. 1 crore and jewelry of the value of Rs. 22 lakh have been seized,” the department said.

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