A day after anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal alleged that Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure was among companies with controversial political connections, the income tax (I-T) department raided GMR offices in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
"There is a search operation across GMR offices and the company officials are co-operating," said a senior I-T official in Bangalore. Sources say the search is under section 132 & 133 of the I-T Act, which enables 'search and seizure' and 'power to call for information'. According to a few senior officials of GMR Group, the I-T officials asked for complete details of contractors and sub-contractors associated with GMR Infrastructure. "We are providing all details," informed the officials.
In a statement, the GMR Group said the I-T officials came to some of their offices to check their books. "We are extending all assistance to the team of officials. We are confident that the officials will find our corporate practices and books satisfactory. We have robust institutional measures to monitor, as well as implement corporate governance of the highest order, and we are confident these on-the-spot checks will vindicate the same," the statement said.
GMR Infrastructure's scrip had tanked six per cent yesterday after Kejriwal alleged a nexus between GMR and politicians. Today, it recovered a little over three per cent to close at Rs 24.05 a share on the National Stock Exchange.
This is the second major instance in three months where the infrastructure developer has been under a cloud. In August, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) had said the civil aviation ministry violated bid conditions, which benefited GMR-led Delhi International Airport (DIAL) to the tune of Rs 3,415 crore.
The CAG had said the government had given out the Delhi airport and land with a potential earning capacity of Rs 1,63,557 crore to DIAL, which made a total equity contribution of only Rs 2,450 crore.
In its response, GMR said DIAL had not received any undue benefits from the government before, during or after the bidding process. "The entire process of the privatisation and selection of joint venture was based on a transparent, international, competitive bidding, which was guided and presided over by competent bodies and has been upheld as such by the Supreme Court in 2006," the company said.