Chennai: The Income Tax officials, on Thursday, conducted searches at over a dozen premises of Tamil Nadu's well-known hotels and restaurants on charges of alleged tax evasion.

According to reports, the I-T officials said that the raids are being held at 32 locations of companies like Saravana Bhavan, Hot Bread, Anjappar and Grand Sweets. A team of over 100 I-T officers raided the residences and offices of the directors of these food chains.

These hotels in Tamil Nadu, serve some of the best south Indian delicacies, including sweets, cakes and pastries which are shipped abroad, a senior official said.

The officials added that the department is looking into allegations of suppression of income by these groups by various means and hence decided to conduct searches and obtain further evidence.

Hotel Saravana Bhavan was founded in Chennai in 1981, and is the largest south Indian vegetarian restaurant chain in the world. This food joint has more than 33 locations in India (20 in Chennai) and 47 across several countries in Southeast Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.

Hot Breads was started by a former assistant professor at Madras University, M Mahadevan, who claimed in an interview that his inspiration to enter the industry came from Arthur Hailey's Hotel.