According to persons acquainted with the situation, the tax department of India is looking into claims of tax evasion made against the founders of three Indian unicorn companies: FirstCry.com, Globalbees Brands Ltd., and Xpressbees.
According to the persons, who asked to remain anonymous because the details are private, the department, which is overseen by India’s Ministry of Finance, has sent founder Supam Maheshwari notifications questioning why he didn’t pay more than $50 million in taxes on stock transactions carried out in privately-held FirstCry.
They said that at least six FirstCry investors, including the family office of Sunil Bharti Mittal and the private equity firm ChrysCapital Management Co, had also received inquiries about the situation. According to the people, Maheshwari is in discussions with the tax authority to end the investigation.
Emails requesting comments about the investigation from Maheshwari, ChrysCapital, the tax authority, and Mittal received no response.
In the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2021, FirstCry achieved profitability after years of losses. According to a previous Bloomberg story, it is one of the few businesses in India looking to access the IPO market after becoming operationally profitable.
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