The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested R.P. Meena, Commissioner, Income Tax (Appeals) from his residence for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe to settle a tax matter.
Mr. Meena is a 1987 batch Indian Revenue Service officer. He has previously worked as Additional Commissioner, Investigations and Company Assessment. He was arrested along with his chartered accountant U.P. Pai late on Friday night following a complaint and the subsequent laying of a trap.
“This is an unfortunate case. Bribe was being demanded by one of the highest ranking officer in the country,” CBI Joint Director Rishi Raj Singh told journalists on Saturday.
According to the CBI, Mr. Meena threatened the complainant, whose identity was not disclosed, with heavy tax liabilities if he failed to pay up the bribe of Rs.2.20 lakh. He was not clearing the complainant’s file. He allegedly directed the complainant to pay the bribe amount to Mr. Pai. A meeting between Mr. Pai and the complainant was arranged at a restaurant at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
The CBI said it taped the negotiations between Mr. Meena, Mr. Pai and the complainant. It treated the currency notes with phenolphthalein powder. (The hand wash of the accused is used as evidence). At the restaurant, they kept a vigil as the complainant arrived to hand over the money to Mr. Pai. Mr. Pai was nabbed when he reportedly took the money.
The CBI has begun searching the residences, properties and offices of Mr. Meena and Mr. Pai. “Documents have been seized and are under scrutiny. So far it has come to light that Mr. Meena has one house in Delhi, one plot in Jaipur and one house in Dausa, Rajasthan. He is also found to be in possession of a bank locker in Jaipur,” the agency said.
Mr. Meena allegedly created a scene when CBI officials reached his residence. “On seeing the CBI team, he tried to throw his mobile phone. It is revealed that he used to talk to his contacts on this private mobile phone. Scrutiny of call records is being done. Apart from one official mobile phone, he was found in possession of three more mobiles, which are in fictitious names of other telecom circles, suspected to be used for similar illegal transactions,” the CBI said.
Mr. Meena and Mr. Pai have been booked under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, pertaining to taking gratification.
Superintendent of Police Abhin Modak said the complainant, a software engineer, had gone in appeal against the individual assessment of his income by an assessment officer. The officer had fixed a tax liability of Rs.20 lakh. The complainant contested the assessment on the aspect of income earned through sale of shares. Demands for bribe allegedly began first from the assessment officer. The CBI said negotiations on the bribe amount were on for the past one and a half years. However, the complainant approached the agency only on Friday.
The CBI categorically denied rumours that the complainant was an employee of DB Realty. Hindu