I-T Commissioner, Essar MD arrested in bribery case
The CBI has arrested an Income Tax Commissioner, B B Rajendra Prasad, and Essar group's Managing Director Pradeep Mittal along with four others in a Rs two crore bribery case.
Prasad, a 1992 batch Indian Revenue Service officer handling appeals related to tax matters in Mumbai office, had allegedly demanded the bribe of Rs two crore for an order favouring the Balaji Trust in which Essar group is the main trustee, CBI sources said today.
While two people, including Prasad, were arrested in Visakhapatnam, the other four were nabbed in Mumbai.
Recapping the events leading to the high-profile arrests, CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said Prasad had asked that the money be delivered to the Mumbai residence of real estate agent Suresh Kumar Jain's relative Manish Jain who then transferred it to an agent in Visakhapatnam.
In an attempt to cover his tracks, Prasad took leave from office and asked Suresh Jain to deliver part of the alleged bribe amount to his Visakhapatnam residence. But the stratagem didn't work. Both Prasad and Suresh Jain were caught red- handed.
"The CBI laid a trap and caught the Commissioner who had received part of the bribe amount of Rs 19.34 lakh from the real estate trade agent," Gaur said.
The other four — Mittal, Essar's Accounts Officer Vipin Bajpai, chartered accountant Shreyas Parikh and Manish Jain — were arrested in Mumbai.
"During the investigation, the remaining amount of Rs 1.50 crore, earlier received... on behalf of the Commissioner, was also recovered," Gaur said.
A Balaji Trust spokesperson said there was a routine survey of records conducted by CBI at the offices of two of its executives in connection with IT assessment orders.
"Balaji Trust is a responsible corporate citizen and conducts its business in an open and transparent manner. Our executives are cooperating with the investigation fully and will continue to do so," he said.
The trust spokesperson added that legal submissions were made to relevant authorities through a reputed accounting firm based on which the orders were passed in a routine manner.
The CBI said searches were conducted in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam at the offices and homes of the accused which led to the recovery of property papers, details of bank accounts, three lockers and several incriminating documents.