The Income Tax Department has attached property worth Rs 700 crore belonging to two liquor manufacturers after conducting searches in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Goa on Tuesday and Friday, a Ministry of Finance press release said. Investigators had searched 55 places on the two days after receiving tip-offs.

“The Income Tax Department conducted a search and seizure operation on August 6, 2019 in the case of one of the major producers of beer and IMFL [Indian-made foreign liquor] in Tamil Nadu,” the finance ministry statement said. The searches were conducted at residences of the promoters, key employees and some suppliers, the statement added.

I-T officials told News18 that SNJ Distilleries was raided on Tuesday. The distilleries are owned by the SNJ group, promoted by SN Jayamurugan. Jayamurugan had produced two films for which late Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi wrote scripts.

“The suppliers received payment at the inflated value by cheque or RTGS, but paid back the excess value in cash to key confidante employees of the group,” a press release by the I-T Department said. “The search teams gathered evidence of such over-invoicing and return of cash by suppliers. Such inflation by over-invoicing amounted to suppression of taxable income of almost Rs 400 crore over a period of six years.”

Another liquor firm that had also evaded paying taxes was searched on Friday, PTI reported. Around seven premises of this group at Chennai and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu were searched. It was revealed that the firm had suppressed taxable income of Rs 400 crore.

The searches are still going on.