● Titli Culinary Bar at Ozran Beach, Vagator, Thalassa, Romeo Lane on Vagator Beach, and Hammerzz nightclub, Calangute amongst those raided
PANAJI: Income Tax Dept has commenced raids at several pubs, hotels and restaurants in the beach belts of Goa since Tuesday morning.
Income Tax raids was for alleged tax evasion and unaccounted cash income siphoned to business associates heralded the new year in Goa.
Hammerzz at Calangute, Titli Culinary Bar at Orzan Beach, Vagator, Thalassa at Siolim and Morjim, sundowner bar Romeo Lane on Vagator beach were among the 40-odd premises raided by the Income Tax department for tax evasion.
The Free Press Journal reported that taxmen also raided the residences of about 60 individuals, including Hammerz nightclub partners Siddhesh Kudtarkar, Ketan Patel and Rajeev Punwani, Greek nationals Mariketty Grana and her son Spiro Grana who run Thalassa, Romeo Lane founders Saurabh Luthra and Gaurav Luthra.
According to Income Tax officials, the promoters and management of Hammerz nightclub were conduits for cash collections of all the major nightclubs and bars in Goa and illegal money transfers abroad through hawala channels.
Siddhesh Kudtarkar founder of Team Innovation is also named in Mumbai Police FIR for illegal sale of India New Zealand semi final match tickets last November in black.
Mahadev book promoter Saurabh Chandrasekhar had laundered cricket betting and match fixing profits and investing in Team Innovation LLP founded by Mohit Bijlani and Siddhesh Kudtarkar to run nightclubs and bars in Goa, Dubai and London.
“Most of the nightclubs and bars underreported the revenue and did not maintain proper books of accounts. The hospitality business is booming with record number of tourists visiting Goa for Diwali, Christmas and New Year but the tax returns do not match the business generated,” contended a senior Income Tax official.
The raids have put a dampener on the festive spirits and roaring business of nightclubs, bars and restaurants in north Goa.