New Delhi– The Income Tax Department has initiated inquiries against Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah and four other persons for making “false” declarations under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) “to determine the intention” behind their action, an official statement said on Sunday.

Mahesh Shah, a businessman from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, recently created a sensation by declaring a whopping Rs 13,860 crore in unaccounted wealth under the IDS that ended on September 30.

Shah went underground on November 29 and appeared at the ETV studio in Ahmedabad a week later only to claim that the declared money did not belong to him and he was used as a front by some businessmen and politicians to declare their money.

Besides, an inquiry was ordered on the family of four — Abdul Razzaque M. Sayed, his son Mohammed Arif Abdul Razzaque Sayed, his wife Rukhsana Abdul Razzaque Sayed, and his sister Noorjahan Mohammed Sayed — residents of Mumbai’s Bandra who filed a total declaration of Rs 2,00,000 crore, according to the Finance Ministry statement.

Among the declarations received, the Income Tax Department found these two sets of declarations “suspicious” and did not take them on record, which showed a total declaration of Rs 67,382 crore made by 71,726 declarants as on October 1, it said.

“These declarations from Mumbai and Ahmedabad were kept pending for investigation about the genuineness of the same and were not included in the total value of declarations announced on 1st October, 2016. After due inquiry, it was found that these declarants were persons of suspicious nature and very small means and the declarations could have been misused,” it added.

“Therefore, after due consideration, the Income Tax Department decided by November 30, 2016, to reject these two sets of declarations of Rs 2,00,000 crore and Rs 13,860 crore. The department has since commenced enquiries against these declarants to determine the intention behind these false declarations,” said the statement.

An Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) was announced in the Union Budget 2016-17 under which declaration of undisclosed income or asset could be made by agreeing to pay 45 per cent of the declared amount as tax, surcharge and penalty. The scheme closed on September 30 this year. (IANS)