Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ten more I-T officers under scanner for links with dealer

Around 10 income tax (I-T) officers are under the scanner after their names and numbers were found in a diary recovered during searches on bullion dealer Prithviraj Kothari. The searches began on June 11 and concluded on Sunday. I-T officials are now going through documents sezied during the raids, including account books.

Recovery of the names has aggravated embarrassment for the department, as a deputy commissioner of I-T has already been suspended for leaking information to Kothari 25 minutes before the searches began.

“We were startled to find names and numbers of so many officers who either hold important charges or held the same earlier,” said an I-T official, requesting anonymity.

He added that the department suspects the officials are close to Kothari and were offering him favours.

Sources in the department said that Kothari has been under the I-T radar for almost three years. But the department did not conduct searches because some officials in the investigation.

Prakash Kothari has been under the I-T radar for close to three years but no raids were conducted on him as top authorities feared that I-T officials close to him would leak information.

A deputy commissioner of I-T has been suspended for leaking information to Kothari 25 minutes before the searches began tion wing were close to him, and top authorities feared that information would be leaked.

They realised this when they conducted searches on Kothari. They found that information was leaked to him and he managed to evade the authorities for three days, sources said.

Officials said that the leaking of information affected the search operation, which could have been bigger than what it is now.

Sources said with the role of a deputy commissioner becoming clear, the others would be investigated properly and their backgrounds, including their wealth, would be checked. “If any are found possessing wealth more than their known sources.

On Wednesday, names and numbers of 10 I-T officers were found in a diary recovered during searches on Kothari.

In the raid so far, Rs10 crore in cash has been seized and 10 lockers are yet to be opened. “These lockers may contain valuables and some important documents,” an official said. of income, strict action will be taken,” the official said.

Meanwhile, officials are finding it difficult to connect details mentioned in books of account as these are highly complicated “There are so many entries showing dealings and these are not clear,” the official said.

Officials added that the account book is confusing as many entries are bogus. Officials earlier found a large portion of import and export shown by Kothari’s RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd is bogus. The company has shown a turnover of Rs25,000 crore.

“We need to establish bogus entries with the evidence to raise tax demands and levy a penalty on him,” the official said.
Manish Pachouly, Hindustan Times, Mumbai, June 20, 2013, First Published: 10:43 IST(20/6/2013)

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