The CBI has arrested a Goods and Services Tax commissioner from Kanpur and eight others, including three officials, busting an alleged bribery racket in the department, the agency sources said.
The officials used to collect regular bribes from businessmen and industrialists of Kanpur for providing them tax-related relief and shielding them from notices of the department, the sources said.
The bribes were collected either in the form of cash or costly items like refrigerators, television sets, and mobile phones which were delivered to the commissioner’s residence in New Delhi, they said.
According to the agency sources, Sansar Chand, a 1986- batch Indian Revenue Service officer, posted as Commissioner, two superintendents of the department (Ajay Shrivastav, R S Chandel), one personal staff (Saurabh Pandey) and five private individuals, including the owner of Shishu Soaps, were nabbed by the CBI in a late-night operation in Kanpur and Delhi.
The agency has also named Chand’s wife Avinash Kaur; and Aman Shah, Superintendent, GST and Central Excise, Kanpur, in its FIR but they have not been arrested yet, the sources said, adding one arrested suspect is not mentioned in the FIR.
The CBI has alleged in its FIR that Chand along with his subordinates used to collect bribes on monthly and quarterly basis from industrialists and businessmen, they said.
The bribes in cash were routed through hawala channels to Delhi through Aman Janin and Chander Prakash, both residents of Delhi, who used to deliver it to Chand’s wife, the CBI has alleged.
The bribes were accepted on case-to-case basis for the assistance required by the private parties in the department, it alleged.
The agency has alleged that Chand in conspiracy with superintendents under him was systematically collecting bribes from the owners of Rimjhim Ispat Limited, SIR Pan Masala, Sugandhi Private Limited among others but it has not named them as accused in the FIR.
“Source information has revealed that Sansar Chand was in the habit of taking periodic updates from his superintendents …receipt of illegal gratification from various parties,” the FIR alleged.
In one such case, Chand was allegedly seeking update on bribe from the owner of Shishu Soaps and Chemicals Limited, Manish Sharma, who sells his product under the brand name ‘Rekha detergent’, it said.
Sharma, who was seeking relief from the notices of the Central Excise Department, had assured that he would soon pay the bribe for the months from February, 2018 to April, 2018 which was conveyed to Chand through his middleman Amit Awasthi and arrested Superintendent Ajay Shrivastav, it said.
The payment was to be made through the middleman Awasthi, it added.
The agency got the input of the transaction through its sources.
“CBI laid a trap and apprehended the accused who had received the bribe of Rs 1,50,000 on behalf of (the) commissioner and also the private accused who gave the said bribe to public servants.
The bribe money was also recovered,” a CBI spokesperson said on Sunday.
He said searches were conducted on the premises of accused persons including public servants, private individuals, middlemen at Kanpur and Delhi which led to recovery of cash Rs 58,00,000 (approx.) and several incriminating documents including diaries, pen drives and documents of properties worth crore.