Singh & Associates, Manoj K Singh, executive chairman of Delhi BCD, raided by IT: “Firmly deny” seizure of money [UPDATE-1] – Legally in India


Manoj K Singh Singh & Associates raided by IT

Tthe law firm Singh & Associates, which has seen a wave of lateral hiring this year, was raided by the government’s Income Tax Department (ITD) yesterday as part of a raid on its founding partner Manoj K Singh.

We’ve reached out to Singh and the firm and two of his spokespersons for comment and will update this story if and when we get anything.

Update October 20: Singh & Associates made the following statement:

We are writing to you about your article from October 15, 2020, published on the Legally India platform. In the wee hours of Wednesday October 14, 2020, income tax officers knocked on our doors and searched our premises. We are extremely proud of our team which cooperates fully with the officials. However, we strongly refute and deny the allegations of seizure of Rs 5.5 crore in cash as stated in your article; the same is wrong.

We hereby affirm and inform you that no amount of money as stated in your article has been seized at the premises / offices of Singh & Associates or our founding partner, Mr. Manoj K Singh.

The content of your article on Unaccounted for Cash Transactions is false, baseless and misleading. It severely damaged our brand, reputation and goodwill in the market.

We ask you to take note of all the facts presented to you and also ask you to recheck your facts with the relevant authorities and to issue a clarification conveying our position to your readers.

According to the ITD, he had carried out “search and seizure action … in the case of a leading lawyer practicing (sic) in the field of commercial arbitration and alternative dispute resolution”, in 38 properties in Delhi, NCR and Haryana.

The department said it recovered Rs.5.5 crore in cash and found “incriminating documents of unrecorded cash transactions and investments” over several years, including “substantial digital data reflecting unrecorded transactions of the person evaluated and his associates, who are financiers and builders “.

The ministry did not appoint the lawyer, but we understand from two authorized sources with knowledge of the raid, that the founding partner of the firm Manoj Kumar Singh was the target of the raid, which the firm denied [UPDATE-1: See statement above].

In addition to being the founder of Singh & Associates, Manoj K Singh was only elected last month as chairman of the Delhi Bar Council executive committee and is a member of the Bar Council Rules Committee, according to a statement from press of September 9, 2020 (Senior lawyer Ramesh Gupta was elected president, with Himal Akhtar as vice-president of the Delhi Bar Council).

According to the ministry statement, the anonymous lawyer was “suspected of receiving substantial amounts in cash from his clients, to settle their disputes”, and allegedly “received Rs. 117 crore from a client in cash, although he did not ‘had shown that Rs 21 crore in its records, which were received by check’.

“In another case, he received over Rs. 100 crore in cash from an infrastructure and engineering company for his arbitration proceeding with a public sector company,” the department said.

The tax department alleged in its statement that “the unrecognized money received was invested by the appraisal in the purchase of residential and commercial properties and in the assumption of trusts engaged in the management of schools”, adding: “Evidence recovered indicates an investment of over Rs. 100 crore in cash in several properties in upscale neighborhoods over the past two years. The appraiser and his associates have also purchased several schools and properties, for which also more of Rs. 100 crore was paid in cash. He also took lodging tickets worth several crore.

Singh is not the first founder of a law firm to face tax raids.

And in 2019, before the arrest of the managing partner of OP Khaitan & Co, Gautam Khaitan, for alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland helicopter scam, he was raided by the tax department.

Manoj K Singh: Decorated man & cabinet

From the Singh & Associates firm brochure
From the Singh & Associates firm brochure

WWe have no information or indication at this time that the investigation is beyond anyone other than Manoj K Singh himself, although some of the company’s offices have been included in the tax raids.

Singh & Associates has offices in New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai and Bengaluru, and according to its website is an “ISO 9001: 2015 certified full-service law firm” with more than 230 “lawyers, accountants, secretaries of ‘business, patent agents, trademark agents, engineers, pharmaceutical experts, professionals (BD / Marketing, HR, IT), specialized paralegal staff – representing and assisting clients in litigation, ADR, transactional work, advice, regulation , labor and employment, taxation, IPR and related issues ”.

Manoj K Singh founded the firm in 2002, according to his Linked-in profile, which states that he:

Practice, appear and plead before the Supreme Court of India and various high courts in the country including, but not limited to, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Patna Bangalore, Indore, etc. Also appears in District Courts including, but not limited to Patialla Chamber Courts, Tees Hazari, Dwarka District Court, Kakardooma District Court, Rohini District Court and various courts including the customs excise appeals tribunal, the Monopolies and Restrictive Business Practices Commission, the debt collection tribunal, national and national consumer recovery forums, etc. .

He is a special advisor for TRANSCO, New Delhi City Council (NDMC), and was previously also a member of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

However, the Singh & Associates High Production Values ​​brochure includes Manoj K Singh’s name on each of its 27 pages.

The firm and Singh have been very active in public relations and marketing, particularly in recent years, as indicated in its brochure which included a long list of applause and superlatives about the firm, and apparently won over. just about all Indian legal prices. and ranking available with more than 50 ads.

Singh and / or firm’s awards and quotes include: Asialaw, numerous quotes from Asian Legal Business (including its “Most Innovative Law Firms in India” in its “Pioneers 2020” and “India Firms To Watch 2020 ”), a number in the Legal 500 rankings, Chambers ranking Singh as“ Recognized Practitioner in Dispute Resolution ”in 2019,“ Award Winning Law Firm ”in IBLJ’s India Law Firm Awards 2020, multiple awards “40 under 40” awarded by Legal Era, Law Firm of the Year 2019 by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Special recognition for service to the legal profession in 2019 by Legal League Consulting, one of the “100 legal luminaries of India ”by Lexis Nexis, inclusion in IFLR1000 as“ Outstanding Law Firm ”and many Continued.

It also includes a list of over 500 corporate clients.

The firm has three partners who are part of the management – Manoj K Singh as a founding partner, Daizy Chawla as a managing partner and Gunita Pahwa as a joint managing partner.

According to its website, there are also three senior partners (this includes a “finance manager”, who does not have a full profile on his website or a Linked-in profile).

The website also lists seven partners (non-seniors), three of whom had only joined this year.

The firm claims to have a staff of over 230 professionals (not just lawyers, see above); on its website, it lists 8 senior partners, 11 senior partners and 24 partners, in addition to partners.

Complete declaration of the tax service

Income Tax Service conducts research in Delhi, NCR and Haryana

The Department of Income Taxes carried out a search and seizure action on 14.10.2020 in the case of a leading lawyer practicing in the field of commercial arbitration and alternative dispute resolution methods. He was suspected of receiving substantial sums of cash from his clients to settle their disputes. During the search, 38 premises spread over Delhi, NCR and Haryana were covered.

During the search, money of Rs. 5.5 crore was seized, while 10 lockers were placed under control. Incriminating documents of unrecorded cash transactions and investments made by the appraised over several years have been found. Substantial digital data reflecting the unrecorded transactions of the appraisee and his associates, who are financiers and builders, was also recovered.

In one case, the appraised person had received Rs. 117 crore from a client in cash, while he had only shown Rs. 21 crore on his records, which was received by check. In another case, he received over Rs. 100 crore in cash from an infrastructure and engineering company for his arbitration proceeding with a public sector company.

The unrecorded money received was invested by the appraiser in the purchase of residential and commercial properties and in the assumption of trusts engaged in the management of schools. Evidence recovered indicates an investment of over Rs. 100 crore in cash in several properties in upscale neighborhoods over the past two years. The appraiser and his associates also bought several schools and properties, for which also over Rs. 100 crore was paid in cash. He also took lodging tickets worth several crores.

Further investigations are in progress.

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