CBI arrests Mumbai I-T commissioner, Essar MD in bribery case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested an income tax (I-T) commissioner (appeals) and five Essar Group officials in an alleged bribery case.

The arrested I-T officer, B B Rajendra Prasad, is an IRS officer of 1992 batch who is currently I-T Commissioner (Appeals - 30) in Mumbai, as per the FIR filed by the CBI.

The others arrested in the case include Essar Group's managing director Pradeep Mittal, Essar's accounts officer Vipin Bajpai, chartered accountant Shreyas Parikh, real estate agent Suresh Kumar Jain and his relative Manish Jain.

The CBI also recovered Rs1.50 crore, part of the Rs2 crore deal, in the process, officials said.

According to the CBI, I-T commissioner Prasad had recently passed an order in an appeal favouring a private trust belonging to the Essar Group.

Prasad had allegedly demanded a bribe of around Rs2 crore for passing the order and wanted the money to be delivered to Manish Jain, who in turn would transfer it to Suresh Kumar Jain in Visakhapatnam.

Prasad then took leave and went to Visakhapatnam and demanded that a part of the money be delivered to his residence in Visakhapatnam.

Acting on a tip-off, the CBI laid a trap and caught Prasad receiving Rs19.34 lakh from Suresh Kumar Jain. CBI also recovered Rs1.50 crore the I-T official had earlier received as part of the bribe.

Following the arrest of the two, CBI sleuths conducted raids in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam at the offices and residences of all the accused, leading to recovery of several property investment documents, details of bank accounts, three bank lockers and other incriminating papers.

The accused will be produced before a designated court later, officials said.