Bogus Shares, Hawala Transactions: I-T Dept's Wealth Count for Godman Kalki Bhagwan Stops at Rs 800cr

Chennai/Bengaluru: What was initially being pegged as unaccounted wealth of about Rs 400 crore has now doubled with the Income Tax department estimating the total undisclosed income of self-proclaimed godman 'Kalki Bhagwan' and his family-run trusts and businesses to be more than Rs 800 crore.

At the end of search and seizure operations conducted at the group’s premises late Sunday night, tax men said the initial estimate of Rs 409 crore unaccounted wealth is now being revised. This money was from unaccounted cash receipts alone.

The tax officials have found account credits of Rs 115 crore in the HDFC Bank, bogus share capital worth Rs 61 crore, assets and foreign investments through hawala transactions worth over Rs 100 crore.

There have been undisclosed investments in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, Dubai and Africa. Besides, there is evidence of nearly 4,000 acres of land and 'benami' properties. The 'ashrams' are run by the self-styled godman who fancies himself to be the 10th or last 'avatar' of the ‘Dasavatars' of Lord Vishnu.

More than 300 officials of the I-T department have been raiding about 40 premises of the trust and other institutions of the group over the last four days. The raids came to an end at 11pm on Sunday.

Sources in the department say his son NKV Krishna and daughter-in-law Preetha are being questioned. Both are said to be not cooperating and refusing to answer questions to explain the huge stash of cash on their premises. They have also not signed their statements.

Raids were spread across Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Varadaiahpalem near Chittoor along the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border where the ashram’s headquarters is located.

The group's focus has been on residential training programmes in philosophy and spirituality, which are held through ‘wellness courses’ at the ‘Oneness University’ the group runs in Chittoor.

A former clerk of Life Insurance Corporation, 70-year-old Vijay Kumar started an institution called the 'Jeevashram' school in the mid-80s for an alternative form of education for his disciples and opened the 'Oneness University' at his Chittoor campus.

In the 90s, he proclaimed himself to be ‘Kalki’, the last incarnation of Vishnu and acquired quite a large cult following, including actors and businessmen, since then.

His family members, including his wife Padmavati and his son Krishna, have been helping him run the trust with Krishna allegedly taking care of most of the financial dealings.

Tax raids were taken up after the department received tip-offs about a large number of cash donations being made that had been kept out of the account books and later used for other businesses, primarily in the real estate sector. About 90kg of gold and other valuables were also found.