The Income Tax Department (I-T) on Thursday conducted coordinated raids at over two dozen popular hotel and restaurant chains including Saravana Bhavan group in Chennai on charges of alleged tax evasion, according to officials. Apart from Saravana Bhavan group other popular companies which are being raided include Hot Bread, Anjappal, Grand Sweets and many others.
A special team consisting of over 100 I-T sleuths conducted series of searches and raids at the residences and offices of the directors of these eatery chains on Thursday. Searches are underway at as many as 32 locations across the city.
The development came after the I-T department received certain inputs about the suppression of income by these groups by various means. However, there was no immediate word on behalf of the restaurant chains about the tax-raids.
These restaurants serve some of the best south Indian delicacies, including cakes, pastries and sweets that are even shipped abroad.
Saravana Bhavan, being founded by P Rajagopal in 1981, is one of the largest South Indian vegeterian restaurant chains in the world. The group has more than 33 outlest in India and 47 across several countries in Southeast Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.
The Anjappar, the Indian casual-dining restaurant chain, has 70 outlets, including a few in abroad. Bakery chain Hot Breads has branches in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry. Grand Sweets, which is known for its sweet and snack items, has been in the business for the last 25 years. In 2010 the shop was partitioned into two businesses, following a family ownership dispute.