Decorators who had spruced up the venue for the lavish wedding of the children of Maharashtra minister Bhaskar Yadav on Wednesday came under the scanner of the service tax officials who carried out search operations on their premises.
The Service Tax Department's action comes a day after the Income Tax authorities carried out searches at the house and hotels of Jadhav and recorded his statement.
"We conducted search at around seven premises of D G decorators located in Mumbai while the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence carried out search at four premises of a man, identified as Shah, in Karad in Satara District," said sources in the department. The premises include residence, offices and other establishments of the decorators.
Shah allegedly funded crores of rupees for the February 13 wedding, which was attended by almost the entire state Cabinet.
"Our officials are inspecting the contract and other documents," sources said.
Once the decorators and contractors are searched, the department would be inquiring on the persons involved in providing various services for the grand wedding, the sources said.
"The process of identifying the persons takes time. We started searching the names and addresses of the decorators since February 14 and we got them yesterday," they said.
According to reports, 22 helipads were constructed for facilitating the guest list, which included the who's who of Maharashtra politics.
"We had begun the crackdown on the lavish weddings last month and we have covered some prominent locations in Mumbai. We have collected Rs2 crore as service tax from them. It's an ongoing process," said the official.
The I-Tax department had on Monday conducted searches at the premises Jadhav, who is the Minister of State for Urban Development, after he came under scanner for the lavish wedding hosted at Chiplun, when many parts of the state were facing the prospect of a severe drought.
The inquiries and searches were carried out by a team of 11 officers at his hotel as well as residence in Chiplun (Ratnagiri) and Karad (Satara) on February 18, I-T sources had said on Tuesday.
The I-T sleuths had also recorded the statement of the NCP leader on Monday night at his Chiplun residence, they said.
The department is gathering information about the huge expenses incurred on the elaborate wedding of Jadhav's son and daughter on February 13.
Soon after the ceremony, the NCP had disapproved of the lavish wedding hosted by its minister and had termed it as "inappropriate" when many parts of Maharashtra were reeling under water scarcity.
"Such ostentatious show of wealth was inappropriate for those in public life," NCP spokesman Nawab Malik had said.
NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar too had voiced his displeasure. Pawar had said that he could not sleep the whole night when he saw visuals of the wedding on television.