₹263 Crore I-T Fraud Case: ED Conducts 2nd Round Of Search Operation At IPS Officer’s House

₹263 Crore I-T Fraud Case: ED Conducts 2nd Round Of Search Operation At IPS Officer’s House

In the latest search, the ED is believed to have seized many other incriminating documents beyond those found in the first operation, which included benami property-related documents.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Sunday, May 26, 2024, 11:33 PM IST
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Accused Purushottam Chuahan |

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Mumbai on Saturday carried out a second round of search operation at the Colaba residence of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer after her husband was arrested by the agency last week in the Rs 263 crore Income Tax Refund (ITR) fraud case. In the latest search, the ED is believed to have seized many other incriminating documents beyond those found in the first operation, which included benami property-related documents.

The sources have also confirmed that the ED officials have questioned and recorded the statement of the IPS officer's staff including her orderly and driver for hours at the agency's Ballard Estate office on Saturday. The questioning was related to Purushottam Chavan and his regular visits to Mumbai, Thane, and Pune, as well as Chavan's system of operating and his meetings.

They were questioned about whether they had handled any cash consignments at the instruction of either the senior IPS officer or her husband, and if they had transferred it to any account or handed over the cash to someone.

Additionally, they were asked about any knowledge of property-related documents registered in the names of multiple individuals, including Transferable Development Rights (TDR) for land parcels. Details regarding the routine plans of the senior IPS officer and her husband were also provided. According to sources, the driver and orderly of the senior IPS officer will also be asked to appear before the ED for further questioning.

Chavan will be produced in the Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court on Monday by ED and the agency may seek extension of his custody for further investigation. Chavan, who according to ED was involved in the possession of part of Proceeds of Crime (POC), was arrested on Monday under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Rs 263 crore Income Tax TDS refund fraud case.

In the first raid at IPS officer's house ED had seized several property documents worth approximately Rs 150 crore. These documents, registered in the names of multiple individuals, also included Transferable Development Rights (TDR) for land parcels in Mumbai and Pune.

During the search, officials found documents for around fourteen flats located in Mumbai and Thane, including two large flats measuring 3000 and 1600 sq ft in Worli. Apart from the property documents, documents for Transferable Development Rights (TDR) for Mumbai and Pune were also recovered.

The search operation was conducted at the premises of a senior IPS officer, just before the arrest of her husband, Purshottam Chavan in Rs 263 crore Income Tax TDS refund fraud case.

This IPS officer was instrumental in arresting the accused in the ‘Bulli Bai’ app or Clubhouse cases in 2022 where images of Muslim women were posted in an attempt to “auction” them and objectionable content was shared in the chatrooms.

Before Chavan, the ED arrested four people in connection with this case — former Income-Tax (I-T) officer Tanaji Mandal Adhikari, Bhushan Patil, and Rajesh Shetty, who are in judicial custody. Another accused Rajesh Brijlal Batreja is also in ED custody.

Adhikari, whom the Central agency arrested last year, allegedly generated fake Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) refunds to the tune of Rs 263 crore when he was posted at the I-T Department’s Mumbai office.

The ED's action is part of its investigation initiated based on the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Delhi under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, against Adhikari and others for fraudulently generating and issuing TDS refunds from the Income Tax department to the tune of Rs 263.95 crore.

The Central agency's investigation revealed that businessman Rajesh Batreja and Chavan were in regular touch and shared incriminating messages related to hawala transactions and diversion of proceeds of the crime, ED stated. The agency has claimed that Chavan tried to hamper the investigation by destroying evidence which could further lead to the tracing of proceeds of the crime.

The anti-money laundering agency has already seized and attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs 168 crore belonging to the accused in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

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