Faced with the growing suggestion that the income tax department's much-publicized "search and survey" operation against Ponty Chadha was actually a fizzle, the Central Board of Direct Taxes on Thursday claimed that the exercise with regard to the politically resourceful liquor baron was not over yet.
The CBDT clarified that there was no leak in the case that was first carried out on February 1. It termed media reports of an inquiry constituted by CBDT into the leak as speculative.
Its claim that the "search and survey" operation was still on although it is more than two weeks when the taxmen first visited Chadha's premises comes against the backdrop of a lingering sense of intrigue in political circles over the I-T department's action, particularly its timing; a day before the first phase of UP polls.
The operation was followed by similar reports, all attributed to I-T department sources, in diverse media about taxmen finding a cash trove of over Rs 100 crore.
It later transpired that what taxmen came across was a pretty modest amount of cash and jewellery valued at Rs 11 crore -- scarcely a heart-stopping figure considering that Chadha's annual turnover is estimated at over Rs 5,000 crore.
CBDT on Thursday said a large number of documents were seized from the raids and restraint orders on 13 bank lockers and two other premises were pending. "The search is yet to be completed," it added.
During the search operations, cash of Rs 2.03 crore, jewellery and ornaments worth Rs 5.18 crore and fixed deposits of Rs 4.4 crore were seized.
The matter is still under investigation, it added.