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December 3, 2022

CBI announces reward of RS 1 lakh on absconding IRS officer

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Circular and Notifications

CBI announces reward of RS 1 lakh on absconding IRS officer

According to sources, the CBI has announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information on IRS officer Santosh Karnani, who has been “absconding” since October 4 after his name came up in an alleged bribery case involving Rs 30 lakh.

A special CBI court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for the officer, who has “not joined the investigation” despite receiving four notices from the central investigative agency, they claimed.

Incriminating documents, article, and an investment of Rs 41.96 lakh in the form of fixed deposits were found when the agency conducted searches at 21 locations on November 19 and 21 at the homes of certain relatives and other people, including some Income Tax officers, they claimed.

The documents recovered during searches are being scrutinised, they said.

The officer posted as additional Income Tax commissioner class-I in Ahmedabad had allegedly demanded Rs 30 lakh bribe from builder Rupesh Bramhabhatt.

The Income Tax Department had conducted searches at Bramhabhatt’s offices and prepared an appraisal report which was handed over to the Central Circle-1 of Ahmedabad for issuing a “demand notice”, according to his complaint.

Karnani, who took over the case, allegedly demanded the bribe for not doing anything which could cause a huge financial loss to the complainant, said the First Information Report (FIR).

On October 3, according to the CBI FIR, Karnani called Bramhabhatt for a meeting when the officer allegedly directed him to deposit the bribe with the ‘angadia’ firm account in the name of one “Vardhaman.”

The Vardhman account with the courier business, where the bribe was deposited, was purportedly owned by one Malav Mehta, according to the CBI inquiry, they claimed.

The builder had complained to the Ahmedabad Police’s Anti-Corruption Branch, which had started a trap operation on October 4; but the officer allegedly managed to give them a slip, they said.

Nearly a week after the trap operation, Karnani was transferred to Guwahati, but he hasn’t joined the office and is reportedly on “unauthorised leave.”

The Gujarat government had handed over the matter to the CBI which has issued four notices so far but the officer did not join the investigation.

The CBI opened a look out circular against the 2005-batch officer to prevent any misadventure by him to leave the country and conducted searches at several locations, including his native place in Jaipur, they said.

During the probe, it had emerged that the officer was habitually seeking huge bribes, they alleged.The central probe agency has found that Karnani was in the “Agreed List” of the government since 2015 yet he kept getting important postings in the department, they said.

The government officers against whom there are “complaints, doubts or suspicion” related to honesty or integrity are put in “Agreed List” after consultations between the officers of the departments concerned and the CBI.

They said the agency is also looking into the aspect as to how an officer in the agreed list was being given sensitive postings which brings under scanner the role of senior officers involved in the process.

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