Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax arrested for taking Rs 20 lakh bribe

Thane (Maha): A Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax and another person were arrested on Sunday by Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly accepting Rs 20 lakh bribe from a builder.

Maharashtra ACB Director General Praveen Dixit
Maharashtra ACB Director General Praveen Dixit

The accused were identified as Ramdas Shinde, Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax, Mazgaon office and one Irfan Mehboob Ali Bhopali, who claims to be a sales tax consultant.

“Bhopali was nabbed at a beer shop here while he was taking Rs 20 lakh as bribe from the complainant, who is a builder by profession,” Additional Superintendent of police, Thane division of ACB, Srinivas Ghadge told PTI.

According to the complainant, his office had received a notice in March through Bhopali, which was issued by Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax C V Pathre, stating that the department sought records of transactions of the company from 2006 to 2008 for the purpose of inspection and audit.

“The complainant then asked Irfan to enquire into the details of the notice, who later said as per his information the Sales Tax department was about to levy a fine of Rs 4 crore to 5 crore as penalty for tax evasion that the company had indulged in from 2006-2008,” Ghatge said.

However, the complainant suspected Bhopali and met the Assistant Commissioner (Sales Tax) Pathre, who told him that no such notice had been issued by him, the ACB official said, adding, “The complainant was, however, persuaded by Irfan to meet Pathre stating that he knew the senior officer well and that he could help them out.”

On May 6, an employee of the complainant and Irfan visited the Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax office at Mazgaon in Mumbai and met Shinde, who allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 25 lakh to settle the matter and it was fixed that Rs 20 lakh would be paid to Irfan, who will accept it on Shinde’s behalf.

“The businessman later approached the ACB Thane and accordingly a trap was laid at a beer shop, which is owned by the complainant, today,” he said.

Irfan was caught red-handed while accepting the money, while Shinde was arrested later, the ACB officer said.

A case has been booked under various sections of the IPC and under relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, Ghadge said, adding, that searches were being conducted at Shinde’s residence and office.

Inputs with PTI