CBI probes after CBDT complaint of fraudulent income tax refunds of Rs 263 crore

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case to investigate fraudulent issue of Income Tax refunds to the tune of Rs 263 crore following a complaint filed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

In the complaint to the CBI, Munish Gupta, Additional Director General (Vigilance), CBDT said that Tanaji Mandal Adhikari and Bhushan Anant Patil have entered into a criminal conspiracy and intentionally and fraudulently managed to give credits for taxes deducted at source.

Adhikari has contrived and criminally conspired with other persons to get issued refunds exceeding Rs 263 crore fraudulently which were deposited in the bank account of proprietary concern of Patil located at Panvel, Mumbai.

Amounts have also been subsequently transferred to ICICI Bank accounts at Lucknow and Ahmedabad, and it evident that money might also have been transferred to some other persons/entities across the country and even outside the country, the CBDT said.

“This is a serious crime against the nation and involves cheating, embezzlement, and misappropriation of Consolidated Fund of India by way of fraudulently issuing refunds. Hence, it is requested that a complaint involving criminal conspiracy/fraud may be registered by your Office and necessary appropriate action may be taken at the earliest,” the CBDT said to the CBI.

An anonymous information was received by the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, regarding bogus issuance of refunds in the case of Blitz Multimedia for assessment years (AY) 2007-08 and 2008-09.

From the records, it was seen that the assessee, in its ITR, had mentioned the details of its bank account in the form of a current account with Central Bank of India, Mumbai Main Office.

On November 13, 2019, an additional Saving Bank Account No 37759757340 with State Bank of India, Panvel in the name of SB Enterprises – a proprietary concern of an individual named Patil was added in the system and the funds were credited into it.

It appears that the first fraudulent refund had been issued on November 13, 2019 Subsequently, this bank account was removed from the ITD system on July 8, 2021.

The conspirators, with a view to give a semblance of authenticity to the fraudulent actions, generated dummy orders on the ITBA platform of the Income Tax Department.

On January 20 this year, the matter was brought to the notice of Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, and, in turn, the official brought the same to the notice of Member (Admin and Faceless Services), CBDT and also the Chairman, CBDT.

The matter was also brought to the notice of DGIT, Investigation, Mumbai and on the basis of information gathered, a search was conducted u/s 132 of lT Act on the premises of Adhikari (Sr. Tax Assistant up to January, 2021), an Inspector of Income Tax, who had access to RSA Tokens and login credentials of his supervisory authorities including the Assessing Officer and the Additional CIT and has orchestrated the fraud in connivance with Patil and the refunds have been deposited in Patil’s SBI saving account.

During the search and seizure action under section 132 of the lT Act, Adhikari has claimed that a person named Rajesh Mathani working for Blitz Multimedia Pvt Ltd approached him and persuaded him to pass multiple orders giving credits of fictitious TDS to Blitz Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. and issue refunds fraudulently. However, contact details or whereabouts of Mathani have not been disclosed till now.

lt is also learnt that an amount of about Rs 7.21 crore has been transferred from the SBI account of SB Enterprises to Lucknow in the name of Ashish Mehdiratta.

Another ICICI Bank account in Ahmedabad in the name of Daywind Enterprises Pvt Ltd, has also been credited by transferring fund from the account of SB Enterprises.

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