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Nine people have been arrested in the case so far. Cops say some senior I-T officials may be involved

Getting a refund from the I-T department is a moment of ecstasy for every taxpayer. But what if you hadn't filed a return in the first place? A huge scam has been unearthed in the Income Tax department resulting in a loss of crores of rupees to the exchequer. Three employees hacked the password of an Additional Commissioner of the department, Manish Gupta, and were issuing refund cheques to their accomplices without them having filed their Income Tax Returns (ITRs). Police said that the forgery and cheating was being committed for the past several years.
In the net
Nine persons including three data entry operators, a Chartered Accountant (CA), and a south Delhi resident have been arrested in this connection so far. Police have registered four separates FIRs and are expecting to lodge more cases in coming days. Cops said that more than a hundred people may be arrested in the coming days as the probe into the scam is revealing murky details every day.

Easy money
A south Delhi resident Dinesh Chand Saxena with an annual income of around one crore rupees had to file his ITR when he came in contact with a CA, Jaspreet, who assured him of huge refunds. Jaspreet introduced Saxena to two data entry operators of Income Tax department Aslender Rathore and Ranjeev Mehto who demanded 25 per cent from the refund money. Saxena agreed to their condition.

He then handed over his
TDS related documents, a photocopy of his PAN card and other documents to Jaspreet. Aslender and Ranjeev cracked the password of additional commissioner, Manish Gupta and showed in their records that Dinesh Chand Saxena had been filing his ITR for the past three years while no refund cheques had been issued to him. On the basis of this fabricated data five separate cheques with a face value of six lakh fifty eight thousand were issued by the tax department to Saxena and the amount was credited to his account.

Caught at last
"An income tax official Pratap Chauhan discovered this fraud during an inspection of the refund status BCP system," said a police official. Chauhan contacted Saxena who denied having any documentary proof of filing returns for the past three years. The official then contacted the police following which two separate FIRs were lodged and five persons were arrested. Four more people were arrested on Sunday. They have been identified as Chandresh Yadav, Pankaj, Yogesh Bhargava and Manish, all east Delhi residents. The total number of people arrested has reached nine.

Bigger fish involved?
Cops are suspecting that apart from data entry operators, senior officials attached with the I-T department are hand-in-glove with the culprits. "A departmental inquiry is being conducted by I-T officials in this respect. Police will arrest anyone, even if it's a highly-placed official, if his complicity is proved," said a police official.

Mail trouble
The Income Tax department recently cautioned people not to respond to fraudulent emails, which use its official logo and ask for sensitive details like PAN card and credit card numbers. The department has issued the advisory as it received numerous enquiries from various quarters, seeking clarifications on such deceptive emails. "It is clarified that the Income Tax department does not send e-mails regarding refunds and does not seek any information regarding credit cards of taxpayers. Taxpayers are, therefore, cautioned that they should not respond to such mails and if they do so it would be at their own risk and responsibility," the IT department has said in a public notice.

Faking it
In a major operation in March, the Tax department of the Delhi government unearthed a "huge scam" involving nearly 1,300 "bogus traders" who used to claim Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds by showing bogus bills and fake sells. The Value added tax department had launched a probe discretely choosing nearly 3,000 traders in the city, each having an yearly turn over of Rs one crore and found that nearly one-third of them were either fake or non-functional. "The figure is astonishing. We found out that almost one-third of the total newly registered traders were either bogus or non-functional. We have issued notices to them," a top official of VAT department said. Explaining the modus operandi, the official said these traders, without doing any business, seek VAT refunds from the government by preparing bogus invoices and fake sells. "We have found out 1,277 traders who are fake or non-functional. Basically they were living off the government without doing anything," the official said.

Tag : #CA #Forgery #IT Department #ITR #police

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