Income tax official, husband arrested for Bribe

Mumbai: A senior income tax (IT) official and her husband were arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs1.70 crore from a builder to reduce his tax liability by Rs23.95 crore, CBI officials said today.

Additional commissioner (IT) Sumitra Banerjee and her husband Subratho Banerjee were arrested yesterday from suburban Mulund and Rs1.50 crore were recovered from them, they said, adding the accused had also taken Rs20 lakh as bribe earlier from the same builder.

The duo were produced before a local court today, which remanded them to police custody till April 27, said CBI joint
director (West Zone) Rishi Raj Singh.

Two more senior IT officials including assistant commissioner Anjali Bambole are also allegedly involved in the crime, he said, adding the agency was interrogating them.

In February last week, the chief post-master general of Maharashtra and Goa, Manjit Singh Bali, was arrested by the CBI for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs.2 crore for issuing a no objection certificate (NOC) for construction of a post office in neighbouring Thane district.

According to CBI’s Anti-Corruption Wing, a 1992-batch of Indian Revenue Service officer Sumitra and her assistant Anjali, who sit in neighbouring Thane district’s office, had on March 24 examined the documents of a builder and conducted survey of his sites.

“Sumitra told the builder that tax liability of his firm would be of Rs25 crore. She gave an offer to the builder that the tax liability could be brought down to merely Rs2 crore if he pays bribe of Rs4 crore to her,” Singh said.

“After negotiations, she agreed to take Rs2 crore as bribe instead of four crore and brought down the tax liability of the firm to Rs1.05 crore. The tax amount was paid by the builder to IT department by issuing three cheques of Rs.35 lakh each,” he said.

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On March 24, the builder subsequently handed over Rs10 lakh to Sumitra in her office, the official said.

“On March 29, another Rs.10 lakh were given to Anjali in her cabin. Anajli demanded another Rs.1.80 crore bribe should be given on the same day, otherwise Sumitra would open the firm’s previous years tax assessment records of the firm,” he said.

“However, the builder offered to pay Rs1.50 crore in one installment for which Sumitra agreed. Subsequently, the victim
complained to CBI. Yesterday, Sumitra told the builder to come to Chembur, then to Vikhroli and from there to Mulund,” Singh said.

Accordingly a trap was laid and a person who came to collect the money was nabbed with Rs1.50 crore bribe, Singh said adding that later, the man was identified as Subratho, husband of Sumitra.

“Subratho is jobless now. As part of the probe, search operation was on at the residences of Sumitra, Anjali and other IT official in Thane,” he said adding further probe was on.

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