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A Raid that I-T Department Doesn't Want to Talk About

Searches homes of informer who has contacts with CBDT chief
The Income Tax Department, which generally bandies about search and seizure action to unearth undisclosed income, is unusually quiet about an operation it carried out last month.
On June 2, the I-T department raided the residential premises of a technology consultant, Pritin Sanyal, in New Delhi and Lucknow. The documents it came across during the searches included one with the names of four senior income tax commissioners and their future postings, including at the investigation wing in Delhi, said tax officials in the know.
As the searches were underway, a Russian girl who was present at Sanyal's upmarket Safdarjung Enclave residence, slashed her wrist, prompting the tax officials to lodge a police complaint and inform the Russian Embassy.
Three more searches were carried out later at the residences of some accomplices of Sanyal in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
The case becomes curious because Sanyal was an informer to the tax department -officials claimed the leads he gave were worthless -and had contacts with its top officers, including the chief of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Tax officials said he was misusing the names of top officers and impersonating them, but the department hasn't, at least yet, filed any police case on that and has kept the matter under wraps. The Russian girl, meanwhile, has left the country, police said. Police also said that the tax department has given them little information.
A senior official said Sanyal used to drop names of key officials, MPs and also claimed to be part of an RSS think tank. And, he was in touch with Atulesh Jindal, the CBDT chairman, and exchanged text messages with him, said this official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
So, what prompted the department to raid him?
“He was misusing the names of top officials and impersonating. We were fooled into believing him,“ said an official. “The matter was brought to the notice of top echelons, after which a go-ahead to search him was received,“ said this official, who is in direct knowledge of this operation.
Sanyal, when contacted by ET, admitted to knowing Jindal, the CBDT chief. “Yes, I know him. What is the harm in knowing anyone socially,“ he said, but denied any wrongdoing. “But I have never dropped or misused names of any top officials. I was never part of any RSS think tank,“ he said.
Jindal, however, denied knowing Sanyal.
“May be he is an impostor, I don't know. I can't comment on this,“ Jindal told ET. “I don't interfere in matters of search and seizure. I checked up with member (investigation) and he has clarified that a police complaint has been filed and my name doesn't figure in any search or complaint or otherwise.“ h or complaint or otherwise.“
The Delhi Police said they ha ven't received any compla ints on impersonation.
The complaint was about the presence of the Russian girl and her suicide attempt as well as recovery of the pas sports of some girls at Sany al's residence, that too witho ut any evidence, said a police official. On being asked why no complaint has been filed on impersonation, a senior I-T official said the matter was being handled internally.
Sanyal said the Russian was a student and his guest. “She slashed her wrist because she was under depression,“ he claimed.
Sanyal said the tax department raided him after it came across documents related to his business transactions with one Ramesh Astha.The department had raided Astha on May 6.
“Yes, I had given money to Astha, a goldsmith, for buying a flat at Sujan Singh Park (Delhi). The tax department, when it stumbled upon this document, it decided to search me,“ he said.
Sanyal admitted that he had a document with the names of four senior income tax commissioners on it, but denied anything unusual in it.
“I have never misused anyone's name. Yes, I have friends in income tax,“ he said. “I do help my friends. Tell me is there any harm in helping out friends. We all do it in society and in our social circles."
The Economic Times New Delhi, 15th July 2016


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