Chennai: The Income Tax department on Tuesday searched offices of the Apollo Hospitals group in Chennai and other places for possible tax evasion. Department officials declined to comment on the issue further.
"The IT department visited our hospitals today (Tuesday) and we extended our complete cooperation to them. We have always conducted ourselves with the highest degree of diligence and would like to reassure our patients, shareholders and stakeholders that we shall uphold their trust and faith in us," the group said in a statement.
Meanwhile, when reports of the search operation first came in, shares of Apollo Hospitals, which had scaled a high of Rs.1,497, fell to Rs.1,431.55 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The shares, however, staged a recovery when unattributed statements from the department said the operations were a routine affair. The scrip finally ended at Rs.1,466.75, with a gain of Rs.19.60, or 1.35 percent, over the previous close.
As part of its searches, the Income Tax department on Tuesday stalled financial transactions of the group at Hyderabad.
Department officials closed two blocks at the group's main facility in Jubliee Hills.
Sources in the hospital told IANS that the administration and management blocks were closed as part of the searches in Chennai and New Delhi.
This was apparently being done to prevent manipulation of records. Sources, however, said the day-to-day operations of the hospital were not affected.
This was the first time in 33 years that the department conducted searches at Apollo Hospitals.
Apollo, which has its corporate headquarters in Chennai, also has significant presence in Delhi. In Hyderabad, its hospitals at three locations have a total bed strength of 1,200.
In Andhra Pradesh, Apollo has a 150-bed hospital in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam and a small rural facility in Chittoor, the district its founder Prathap C. Reddy comes from.
The Apollo Hospitals Group, started by cardiologist Prathap C. Reddy as a 150-bed hospital in 1983, now operates 9,200 beds across 64 hospitals, as per information available with the company. Its founder is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan.
The group is now run by his four daughters -- Preetha Reddy, Shobana Kamineni, Suneeta Reddy and Sangita Reddy.