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Saravana Bhavan among 4 food chains raided in Chennai over ‘tax evasion’

Searches are being conducted at homes, offices of directors of Saravana Bhavan, Hot Breads, Anjappar group and Grand Sweets

Four popular restaurant chains in Chennai, including the world-famous Saravana Bhavan, were raided by the Income Tax Department over alleged tax evasion on Thursday morning.

Searches are being conducted at 32 locations, including the residences and offices of the directors of Saravana Bhavan, Hot Breads, the Anjappar group and Grand Sweets, media reports said.

These hotels serve some of the best south Indian delicacies, including cakes, pastries and sweets that are even shipped abroad, news agency PTI quoted a senior official as saying.

The officials added that the department is looking into allegations of suppression of income by these groups by various means and hence decided to conduct searches and obtain further evidence.

The daily operations of these restaurants were not affected by the raids.

Of the four restaurant chains, Saravana Bhavan, established by P Rajagopal in 1981, is the most well-known. It has its outlets in 20 countries including the US, the UK, France and Australia.

Anjappar was established in 1964 and offers South Indian cuisine, particularly focusing on Chettinad-style preparations, at 70 outlets. Established in 1982 by G Natarajan, The Grand Sweets & Snacks has become a big name in the industry.

Bakery chain Hot Breads was started by M Mahadevan, a former Assistant Professor at Madras University, and has branches in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry.

The restaurant chains are yet to respond to the tax raids.

Meanwhile, reports also suggest that the raids will continue till Friday evening.