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Bank officials under lens in ‘2011 Diary’ case

By Devesh K. Pandey From The Hindu

Vigilance inquiry report records witness statements

Several bank officials have come under the scanner of central agencies in connection with the investigation into a “2011 diary”, which the Income Tax Department seized during searches involving a Sandesara group company.

“The documents collected so far have also indicated the suspected role of many bank officials, which will be investigated,” said an official.

The Income Tax assessing officers and senior officers, who had allegedly ignored crucial aspects while preparing the post-search appraisal report, have also been identified through a vigilance inquiry report.

The case, initially registered against three senior Income Tax officials and others, is being pursued by the CBI to detect criminality, and by the Enforcement Directorate to ascertain if there was any money laundering.

The vigilance inquiry was initiated in 2014 on the directions of the then Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman and it was submitted in September last year.

The report went into the lapses, recording the statements of important witnesses and subsequent investigations into the available leads.

The role of at least six such officials was examined. The then supervisory official was accused of not checking the facts before accepting and forwarding the appraisal report. They are besides the three senior IRS officials whose names had figured in the diary that was earlier not brought on record in the appraisal report.

The report alleges that searches had led to the disclosure that 151 Indian-based private companies had been found linked to the two entities under scrutiny. Besides, 100 “undisclosed off-shore” entities located in the UAE, Mauritius, Liechtenstein, British Virgin Islands, the Seychelles and Cayman Islands were identified. However, they were not investigated by the Income Tax team.

Huge transactions

Details of huge cash transactions, including alleged frequent withdrawals through third-party cheques, were found. However, efforts were not made to investigate further and the replies were accepted without any cross-checking. Despite valid grounds, the findings were earlier not shared with the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for coordinated action, the report alleges.

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IMAGE: Cayman Islands Stock


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