Kochi: The Income Tax department has found that political leaders have invested in the real estate deals of businessman Faris Abubaker. The Income Tax department officials raided the houses and establishments of Faris Abubaker in Kochi, Koyilandy, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Thrissur after receiving a tip-off that massive amounts of black money from abroad had been invested in the 94 real estate transactions carried out by Faris Abubaker. After the employees and relatives informed the officials that Faris was in London, a notice was served asking him to appear at the Income Tax office in Chennai within a week.
Units of the Income Tax department from Chennai, Kochi, and Kozhikode conducted simultaneous raids on Monday. Faris’ mother has been living at the ancestral house named Mamatha in Koyilandy. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had visited the house when Faris’ father passed away a few months ago. The officials raided a township in Thrissur and the company’s offices in Bengaluru.
The Income Tax department gathered information focusing on Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Lakshadweep. The raids unearthed documents proving that Faris’ company had filled up and converted over 15 acres of mangroves and pokkali paddy fields near Mulavukad before the preparation of the master plan for the Vallarpadam Container Terminal Road. It was also found that the National Highways Authority of India was forced to spend additional funds after the alignment of the Container Terminal Road was changed for connecting it adjacent to the 15-acre plot of land. The Income Tax department has come to the conclusion that political leaders both in and outside Kerala had shares in this deal.
The intelligence wing of the Income Tax department found that the political leaders invested this black money in Faris' land bank. He had acquired this huge land bank by flouting the watershed, forest, and coastal conservation laws from 2000. The reason for expediting the investigation was the real estate transactions carried out by Faris in the past five years centred in Lakshadweep and the unaccounted amount of Rs. 100 crore that flowed into the real estate companies of Faris in recent times.
Owners’ statements to be recorded
The Enforcement Directorate which investigates cases of black money is also preparing to record the statements of the present owners of the lands which were once possessed by Faris in Cheranalloor, Valanthakad, and Eramalloor, in addition to Mulavukad. A notice will be served to these people in the coming days for this purpose.
Recently, a controversy erupted after someone filled up a watershed and paid land tax in the name of a man who works in the film industry. Interestingly, the person came to know about the watershed filling when the incident made headlines. Investigations are also being conducted over indications that there are many other similar cases.