Dhanbad, Jan. 22: An assistant director in the income-tax department and his go-between were arrested on graft charges by the CBI this morning. While the middleman was caught red-handed accepting a bribe on behalf of the officer, top officials claimed that raids on the latter’s house yielded Rs 1.08 crore in cash.
Sources in the investigating agency said the officer, Swarn Singh, had allegedly struck a deal with Kamal Kumar Singh, an accused in a disproportionate assets case whose establishments were raided last month by income-tax sleuths.
The understanding was Singh — who had raided Kamal’s premises in Ranchi and Dhanbad — would ensure a favourable appraisal of the documents seized and also free the bank accounts that had been frozen.
In Ranchi, Kamal had rented out his office to Zed Laboratories, which was owned by Irshad Khan, whose name had surfaced in the CAT scam as he was an associate of the mastermind, Ranjit Singh. Singh had used this evidence to allege that Kamal had links with the scam.
“I had only rented a portion of my shop in Ranchi’s GEL Church Complex to Zed Laboratories. Right from the next day of the raids on my establishments, the officer and his pimp approached me, saying the department would be lenient if I dished out a certain amount,” Kamal said.
Sources said Singh initially demanded Rs 50 lakh. But after Kamal expressed his inability to pay such a huge amount, the deal was later struck at Rs 15 lakh, which was to be paid through the go-between, Chaurasia, who supplied computers to the tax department. A token instalment of Rs 1 lakh was to be delivered today to Chaurasia.
Kamal, however, contacted the CBI, which laid a trap.
Around 8.30 am, CBI sleuths surrounded Chaurasia’s house and pounced on him as soon as he accepted the money from Kamal. Following his confessions, the CBI team raided Singh’s house. “We have so far recovered around Rs 1 crore while the scrutiny of the seizures is still on,” said Amit Garg, CBI superintendent of police, Dhanbad.
Investigators have seized documents related to properties owned by Singh in places like Giridih, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh. Several bank accounts and lockers have been sealed. While it searched Singh’s office and residence, the CBI also carried out simultaneous raids on Chaurasia’s business establishments in different areas of the city.
CBI sources said Singh was “cooperative” and told the investigators how he operated. “The currency was stacked immaculately like clothes in the almirah. There was money all over,” the sources added.
Although the seized amount was still being counted, sources said they found 58 bundles of 500-rupee notes and an equal number of 100-rupee bundles.