The Income Tax Department conducted raids at 66 properties of self-styled evangelist in Kerala, located in various places across country. 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes, which is the administrative authority for the tax department, carried out the raids as part of its investigations into allegations that tax-exempted funds and donations received from abroad for the poor were "siphoned off" and channeled them into real estate and personal investments

I-T department sources identified the group as the Believer's eastern church.

The search led to unearthing of real estate transactions involving unaccounted cash payments & unexplained cash of approx Rs 6 crore.

In a statement, the CBDT said: "Credible information was received that the group has received donations from foreign countries ostensibly for helping the poor and the destitute and for evangelical purposes but was actually siphoning out such tax-exempted funds in cash to engage in unaccounted cash transactions for personal and other illegal expenses in real estate transactions."

The agency further stated that the Thiruvalla-based group operates about 30 trusts, registered across the country, and most of them "exist only on paper and have been found to be used for routing unaccounted funds and for accommodation (hawala) transactions." 

The CBDT statement said: "The group operates places of worship, a number of schools and colleges across the country, a medical college and a hospital in Kerala. Substantial electronic computing and data storage has been found, which is being examined. It has been found that the modus operandi of the group is to systematically inflate expenses with the help of other parties who would return the inflated amount in cash through domestic hawala channels to the functionaries of the group."

"The search has led to unearthing of a number of real estate transactions involving unaccounted cash payments. Related documents such as sale agreements, etc have been seized. The group has also inflated the price in real estate transactions to show as if the money received in donations is being spent on the activities of the trusts. The evidence found so far indicate that the siphoning of funds in cash may be running into hundreds of crores of rupees," it added.