Uttar pradesh; Income Tax (IT) teams raided premises linked to meat producers and exporters in at least three districts this past week. They claimed to have uncovered ‘black money’ amounting to Rs 1,200 crore. The raids were carried out in Lucknow, Bareilly and Unnao since Wednesday.
Raids were carried out at Rustam Foods, Al-Sumama Agro Foods and Marya Frozen Agro Food Pvt. Ltd. Reports quoted IT officials as saying that the raids lasted four days and led them to information about ‘black money amounting to Rs 1,200 crore’. Officials did not wish to be named but said they found evidence of ‘Rs 1,000 crore’ being withdrawn from ‘dummy bank accounts’.
2018 IT raids, UPPCB action
Rustam Foods Pvt. Ltd has an ‘abattoir-cum-processing plant’ in Unnao’s industrial area. The frozen buffalo meat supplier exports to a host of countries including Algeria, Bangladesh, Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE and Vietnam. The IT department had in January 2018 raided 19 locations linked to Haji Mohammad Saleem Qureshi in Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi, Hapur and Mumbai.
Marya Frozen Agro Food Pvt. Ltd has an abattoir-cum-meat processing plant in Bareilly’s Mohanpur area. It is registered with the central Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) Marya Agro Foods approached the Allahabad High Court against the UP Pollution Control Board’s action earlier this month. The UPPCB regional officer said the action was preceded by complaints about the possibility of the firm slaughtering more animals than permitted.
Raids on award-winning leather manufacturer
Rahman group owns leather and footwear manufacturing units in India, besides manufacturing facilities in France, South Africa, the UAE and Tunisia. In 2020-21, the Rahman group won second place in the export award by the Ministry of Commerce’s Council for Leather Exports. Reports at the time had quoted IT officials claiming that they had recovered Rs 60 lakh in cash, along with jewellery, during the raids.