The Bombay High Court recently discharged Anil Goel, former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (I-T), from a corruption case for allegedly occupying a flat without paying rent while being posted in Kerala.
The court noted that Goel did not have an existing official dealing with the firm from which he allegedly obtained undue benefits.
Justice Bharati Dangre rejected the prosecution argument that if a business connection is made in future, offence under Section 11 (public servant obtaining undue advantage from person concerned in official dealings) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is made out.
FIR initially excluded Goel's name
A case was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation's Anti-Corruption Bureau in Cochin on December 18, 2015. The FIR initially excluded Goel’s name but was subsequently added on July 31, 2019.
It was alleged that Goel occupied a flat leased by M/s Heera Constructions without paying rent, during his tenure from January 01, 2014 to December 31, 2015 thereby abusing his official position as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax. M/s Heera paid rent of ₹40,000 to the apartment’s owner.
The CBI claimed that, as M/s Heera Constructions fell within the assessment jurisdiction of Goel as CCIT, staying in the flat without rent payment constituted an offence under Section 11 of the Act.
He was granted bail by the CBI court on September 19, 2022. He then sought discharge from the case contending that he bore all charges for the maintenance of the flat during his stay, including phone bills, electricity bills, and society maintenance charges amounting to ₹50,000. Hence offence cannot be made out.
Goel had borne all necessary expenses for the flat, observes court
After his plea was dismissed by the special court, he approached the HC. The court observed that Goel had borne all necessary expenses for the flat, including maintenance, electricity, and society charges. Also, it said that Goel was unaware of the ownership details when he was shown the flat by his subordinate when he came to Thiruvananthapuram as the CCIT, HC said while discharging Goel.