Rs 264 Cr TDS Refund Scam: ED Arrests IT Official, 2 Associates in Mumbai

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested an Income Tax (I-T) official and two others in an alleged money laundering case linked to fraudulent tax deducted at source (TDS) refunds amounting to Rs264 crore.

The I-T officer, Tanaji Mandal Adhikari, who is posted in Mumbai, his businessman associate Bhushan Anant Patil (proprietor of SB Enterprises), and Rajesh Shetty were produced in court on Friday and remanded in ED custody for 10 days. Shetty is one of the beneficiaries in the case and is said to have bought assets for other people, who are currently being investigated.

12 bogus TDS refund claims cleared

Adhikari, while working as a senior tax assistant, had access to Request Service Acceptance tokens and the login credentials of senior income tax authorities and allegedly orchestrated the fraud. Adhikari used these login credentials to clear 12 bogus TDS refund claims amounting to Rs264 crore, from November 2019 to November 2020. This money was deposited in the bank accounts of Patil.

The CBI had registered a case on receipt of a written complaint from the additional director general (Vigilance-4) of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) against Adhikari for fraudulently issuing the TDS refunds.

The federal agency filed a chargesheet under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Information Technology Act against Adhikari, Patil and his girlfriend Kriti Verma, who was Goods and Services Tax officer before turning into an actor.

Based on the FIR filed by the CBI, the ED registered a money laundering case and attached 32 properties in Maharashtra and Karnataka cumulatively worth Rs70 crore. The attached properties include plots at Lonavala, Khandala, Karjat, Pune and Udupi, as well as flats in Panvel and Mumbai and three luxury cars (BMW X7, Mercedes GLS400d, Audi Q7). It also froze 33 bank accounts with a balance of Rs96 crore.

The ED had in February also questioned Verma and frozen her bank account, which had a balance of Rs1.18 crore.

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