Mumbai: In the case of fraudulent issuance of ₹263 crore refund of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS), the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) probe into alleged irregularities has revealed that the accused had attempted to hoodwink an IT (Income Tax) department platform that tracks PAN-linked (Permanent Account Number) transactions by creating dummy orders.
It’s alleged that an accused firm had fraudulently obtained the hefty TDS refunds of the accused had attempted to hoodwink an IT (Income Tax) department platform that tracks PAN-linked (Permanent Account Number) transactions by creating dummy orders ₹263 crore in lieu of genuine claims worth around ₹16 lakh spread over two assessment years with the help of an IT employee.
The fraudulent refunds were undertaken allegedly by Tanaji Mandal Adhikari, a senior tax assistant, and a few others. The ED’s probe is based on a CBI case registered by one of its Delhi units (Anti-Corruption-1) on receipt of a written complaint from the Central Board of Direct Taxes’ (CBDT) Additional Director General (Vigilance)-4.
Various funds issued subsequently
The fraudulent TDS refunds pertained to assessment years of 2007-08 and 2008-09. Various refunds, however, were allegedly issued subsequently during Nov 2019 to Nov 2020 on the IT system, after manipulation, wherein the amount of TDS against the genuine claim was increased, an ED source said. The IT department found that claims made in the ITRs (income tax returns) were allegedly inflated and credited to the account.
The ED’s probe revealed that in one year – Nov 15, 2019 to Nov 2020 – 12 fraudulent TDS refunds were generated allegedly by Adhikari. These proceeds of crime were subsequently transferred into the bank accounts of accused persons, persons related to them and shell companies.
Conspirators allegedly generated dummy orders
The probe revealed that conspirators had also allegedly generated dummy orders on an IT department platform, on which transactions linked to the usage of any PAN number are monitored and analysed. This was done in order to make fraudulent transactions look authentic.
It has been alleged that the accused firm gave bank details of its current account with a public-sector bank in its ITR. In Nov 2019, however, an additional savings bank account with another public-sector bank (with a branch in Panvel) was added in the name of a proprietary concern of an individual and first fraudulent credit was made. The additional savings bank account was removed from the IT department’s system later in July 2021.
The CBI had earlier filed a case charge sheet against Adhikari and other accused for committing offences under the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Information Technology Act, including those related to public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act and criminal misconduct by any public servant. The ED recently provisionally attached assets worth around Rs69.65 crore (located in Maharashtra and Karnataka) as part of its money laundering probe in the case.
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