The Income Tax (IT) department has seized Rs 163 crore cash and about 100 kg gold during raids on multiple premises of a road construction firm in Tamil Nadu. According to officials, this is one of the biggest recoveries made during IT raids conducted anywhere in the country till date.

The searches began Monday on the premises of Ms SPK and Company, a partnership firm engaged in roads and highways construction on contract from the government.

The Chennai investigation wing of the IT department is conducting the operation.

“About Rs 163 crore cash, which is suspected to be unaccounted, and bullion and gold jewellery weighing about 100 kg have been seized so far. The raids are still going on,” a senior official of the department said.

After 2016, this is the biggest seizure by the department. Taxmen had seized over Rs 110 crore cash following raids on the premises of a mining baron in Chennai post demonetisation in 2016.

Monday’s IT raids were carried out after the department found “evidence of suspected tax evasion by the firm and its associates” that were believed to have political links, the senior official said.

A total of 22 premises — 17 in Chennai, four in Aruppukottai (Virudhunagar district) and one in Katpadi (Vellore) — are reportedly being searched.

Officials said the cash seized on Monday was kept in big travel bags and parked cars, adding that dozens of gold biscuits were seized. A number of documents and computer hardware were also seized by the department, the officials said.

(With agency inputs)