A special court has sentenced industrialist Vishwas Udaysingh Lad to four years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a penalty of Rs 2 lakh on him for concealing income and making false verification in income tax returns. Lad, belonging to a prominent and politically well-connected family, was a director in many companies and a partner in several firms, the Income Tax department said in a release here today. He was also carrying out several businesses through his personal bank account, it said The department found that Lad had concealed cash deposits of Rs 9.62 crore made in various branches of Tumakuru Grain Merchant Cooperative Bank Limited (Society) across Bengaluru as fixed deposits during assessment year of 2010-11. He did not declare accrued interest amounting to Rs 69.39 lakh for assessment year 2011-12 to 2013-14, the release said. The department said Lad had got made 103 FDs of Rs 9.62 crore splitting the same to less than Rs 10 lakh each, under three different names – Vishwas, Vishwas U La and Vishwas S\/o Uday Singh – to avoid sending the information to the department with the sole intent to evade taxes, it said. In his order on May 26, the IT department special court judge Shanthanna Alva M held him guilty of offences punishable under the Income Tax Act, 1961 and sentenced him to two years rigorous imprisonment for assessment year 2010-11 and one year RI each for assessment years 2011-12 and 2012-13. This is the maximum punishment awarded to any person so for tax evasion in Karnataka, the release said. The department has initiated an aggressive drive to detect cases of tax evasion by individuals, companies, firms and trusts, it said. Several such cases of concealment of income and evasion of taxes by such high profile and influential individuals are pending before the Special Court of Economic Offences, it said.