CBI books 9 tax officials, chartered accountant for graft

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday registered a case against nine senior Income Tax officials including Principal Commissioner Income Tax, Delhi S K Mittal and three private persons for alleged corrupt practices as it carried out searches at 17 locations across the country.

Sources in the CBI told PTI the residential and official premises of the officials and a chartered accountant Sanjay Bhandari were searched during the countrywide operations which covered 17 locations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Khammam in Telangana.

The sources claimed that CBI recovered documents related to properties worth Rs2.6 crore, cash of Rs16 lakh, 4.25 kg of gold jewellery besides 13 kg of silver articles during searches at the premises of one of the officials.

They claimed that from another official fixed deposit receipts worth Rs68 lakh were recovered. Underlining that these were initial recoveries, they said the searches are still going on and that more recoveries could be made.

Besides Mittal, the agency registered cases against Income Additional Commissioner (exemption) Bangalore, T N Prakash, Deputy Commissioner (Exemption) Chennai, R V Haroon Prasad, Deputy Commissioner (Investigation) Chennai, S Murali Mohan, Commissioner (audit-2) Chennai, Vijayalakshmi, Additional Commissioner Mumbai, S Pandian, Commissioner (DR) ITAT Mumbai, G Lakshmi Baraprasad, Additional Director General (systems-4) Ghaziabad, Vikram Gaur and Additional Director (investigation) Mumbai, Rajendra Kumar, CBI sources said.

Chartered accountant Sanjay Bhandari and his sons Shreyans and Divyang are also named as accused in the case, the sources said.

It is alleged that these officials were taking favours including stay at five star hotels, conveyance in the form of luxury cars and air travel at the expense of the chartered accountant and his sons and helping him in the cases of his clients as a quid pro quo.

The present case stemmed from another case registered by the agency in January 2015 in which Bhandari was named along with Joint Commissioner Sallong Yaden who was arrested while allegedly receiving the bribe amount from Shreyans Bhandari of SH Bhandari and Co, Chartered Accountants.

Yaden had allegedly demanded and accepted the bribe for giving a 'favourable' report on the Income Tax search conducted on a city-based private company, the CBI said.

During the probe, CBI found a deep-rooted nexus between Bhandari and senior Income Tax officials who were allegedly giving favourable reports for his clients in lieu of favours received from him.

Following the trail for nearly one year, CBI has filed cases against these officials and Bhandari and his sons.