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CBI Arrests ‘Habitually Corrupt’ IRS Officer And ‘CAs’ For Taking Bribe Of Rs. 40 Lakh

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued a press release dated 12th April 2018 stating that an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer named Swetabh Suman has been arrested for demanding a bribe of Rs. 40 lakh.

Swetabh Suman is presently posted as the Commissioner of Income Tax (Audit), Guwahati, with additional charge of Jorhat.

He is an IRS officer of the 1988 batch.

The CBI has alleged that Swetabh Suman demanded a bribe of Rs 50 lakh from a businessman named Suresh Agarwala, Director of M/s Win Power Infra Pvt Ltd, to pass favourable order in an appeal arising out of assessment done in respect of a shell company.

An Income Tax Officer named Partap Das and two “Advocates & Chartered Accountants” named Ramesh Goenka and Amit Goenka, were also arrested.

Habitually corrupt?

Swetabh Suman is alleged to be habitually corrupt.

The CBI had registered a case against him on August 2, 2005 under sections 13 (2) and 11 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 109 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for possession of disproportionate assets worth Rs 55,11,214 in his own name, in the names of his mother and family members and others during the period from April 1, 1997 to March 31, 2004. The chargesheet was filed in 2010.

The CBI alleged that Swetabh Suman was leading a luxurious life and had amassed assets which prima facie appeared to be disproportionate to his known sources of income. The agency had added that he purchased a plot at Rajpur Road measuring 752.50 square meters in the name of his mother in 2001 and thereafter constructed a palatial house there.

He is also alleged to have purchased a few acres of agriculture land in village Pondha in Dehradun in the name of different persons. There were also allegations against him at that time that files related to the complaints against the officer in the office of the chief commissioner of income tax were clandestinely removed by him while he was posted in Dehradun in 2004-05. The files were later believed to have been recovered from his residential premises during searches conducted by CBI.

Bribe to CBI Judge?

In the said Disproportionate Assets case, a CBI judge hearing the matter had claimed in 2015 that Swetabh Suman had tried to influence him by arranging to offer a bribe through a third party in order to get a decision in his favour.

Furious over the conduct of Swetabh Suman, who was then posted at Muzaffarnagar as Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals), the Special CBI judge Anuj Kumar Sangal directed that the IT Commissioner be slapped with another case under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for trying to influence the judicial process.
The CBI court also passed an order cancelling the officer’s bail adding that he must be taken into custody and sent to jail. However, later, the court granted him bail and released him on two personal bonds of Rs 1 lakh. The court has set July 20 as the date of next hearing.

Why are tainted officers allowed to occupy sensitive posts?

One aspect which is baffling is why Swetabh Suman, during the pendency of the Disproportionate Assets case and the allegation of having tried to bribe the CBI Judge, was appointed Commissioner of Income-tax.

This is not an isolated case.

According to a press report, two IRS Officers named Sunil Kumar Ojha and Manas Shankar Roy have been appointed Chief Commissioners of Income Tax by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

It is alleged that the CBI has filed a FIR against the two officers for accepting crores of rupees as bribe from a company named Sterling Biotech.

It is also alleged that the two officials admitted having received money from the Company (see IRS Officers, Accused By CBI Of Corruption, Appointed Chief Commissioners Of Income-tax)

ICAI takes “strong exception” to the reference to the accused middlemen being referred to by the CBI as “Chartered Accountants

The ICAI has issued a press release dated 13th April 2018 in which it has clarified that the two individuals named by the CBI in the press release are not Chartered Accountants.

The relevant extract of the ICAI’s press release is as follows:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has come across a Press Release issued by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Guwahati wherein it has been mentioned that two of the accused involved in a criminal case i.e. Ramesh Goenka and Amit Goenka am Chartered Accountants.

On going through the aforesaid Press Release, ICAI, being the regulator of the profession of Chartered Accountants verified its records and found that both the accused are not Chartered Accountants as their name do not appear in the Register of members maintained by the ICAI.

In view of the above, it is a matter of concern for ICAI that in the aforesaid matter CBI did not verify the credentials of the persons in question with ICAI before issuing a statement to the media and public at large.

The Institute shall be taking up the matter with the concerned authorities of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Guwahati and has pointed out that such statement should not be considered to be issued to media before verifying the facts with ICAI.

It would also be requested that in future, if any such case comes for their investigation wherein there is an alleged involvement of an individual claiming to be a Chartered Accountant, the matter may be referred to ICAI for cross verifying the credentials from its records.

The ICAI takes a strong exception to the contents of the Press Release which is incorrect and misleading in so far as the reference to a ‘Chartered Accountant’ was made. In such sensitive cases, the concerned Department ought to have verified the facts with the Institute before issuing any statement wherein the involvement of a Chartered Accountant is suspected.

Text of the CBI’s press release

The following is the text of the press release issued by the CBI:

GOVT. OF INDIA
CENTRAL BUREAU OFINVESTIGATION
ANTI-CORRUPTION BRANCH & EO-V
BETKUCH I (OPP.BALAJI TEMPLE) GUVVAHATI:781 035
Tele No. 0361-2270079, E-Mail.hobacdwh@cbi.gov.in

PRESS RELEASE

Information received from a reliable source revealed that during 2017-18, Dr Swetabh Suman, Commissioner of Income Tax(Audit), Guwahati with additional charge of Jorhat, has entered into a criminal conspiracy with Shri Pratap Das, Income Tax Officer (Audit), Guwahati, Shri Ramesh Goenka, Advocate & Chartered Accountant, Guwahati, Shri Amit Goenka, Advocate & Chartered Accountant, Guwahati, Shri Suresh Agarwala, Director of M/s Win Power Infra Pvt Ltd., Jorhat having offices at Guwahati & Delhi and unknown others and in pursuance thereof Dr Swetabh Suman agreed to show undue favour to Shri Suresh Agarwalla, Director of M/s Win Power Infra Pvt. Ltd by passing favourable order in an appeal arising out of assessment done in respect of one of the shell company of Shri Suresh Agarwalla and for this undue favour being shown abusing their official position Dr. Swetabh Suman made attempts to obtain illegal gratification to the tune of Rs 50 lakhs for himself and Shri Pratap Das through Shri Ramesh Goenka and Shri Amit Goenka.

An FIR bearing No. RC0172018A0005 dated 11.4.2018 u/s 7, 11 & 12 and 13(2) r/w Sec 13(1)(d) of PC Act and Section 120B of IPC was registered against the following accused persons:-

1. Dr Swetabh Suman, Commissioner of Income Tax(Audit), Guwahati with additional charge of Jorhat, Aayakar Bhawan, Guwahati.

2. Shri Pratap Das, Income Tax Officer (Audit), Guwahati, Aayakar Bhawan, Guwahati.

3. Shri Ramesh Goenka, Advocate & Chartered Accountant, Guwahati, R/o H. No. 30, Pratistha, Bishnupur Main Road, Bishnupur, near Hanuman Mandir, Guwahati781016.

4. Shri Amit Goenka, Advocate & Chartered Accountant, Guwahati, R/o H. No. 30, Pratistha, Bishnupur Main Road, Bishnupur, near Hanuman Mandir, Guwahati781016.

5. Shri Suresh Kumar Agarwala, Director of M/s Win Power Infra Pvt Ltd., Jorhat, United Hardware and Electrical Stores, Raja Maidan Road, Jorhat-785001

6. Unknown others.

Searches were conducted in Guwahati, Jorhat, Nagaon, Shilong, Noida, Delhi and some other places and which are still going on. Some incriminating documents have been received. In the morning Rs 40 Lakhs meant for the accused IT Officials, was seized from middleman.

-Sd- 12.4.2018
Head of Branch
CBI ACB Guwahati


10 comments on “CBI Arrests ‘Habitually Corrupt’ IRS Officer And ‘CAs’ For Taking Bribe Of Rs. 40 Lakh
  1. shafaly says:

    When you already know that those two people arrested are not CA’s why dont you change its headline.

  2. harassment by the income tax officers reduces in future because of e scrutiny assessment ,
    Here in Bangalore also lot harassment by the additional commissioner of income tax (Dhandapani) , because of his harassment our client decided to suicide
    additional commissioner himself become Income tax officer and he himself writing the note sheet and not given the releasable time to give the details to my client he is promptly paying the tax regularly in two decade , by mistake not considered the TDS on sale of property , later we were accept the mistake and ready to pay the tax but additional commissioner mr Dhandapani himself writing the note sheet of assessment proceedings and added 4.60 crore as a additional income , with out seeing the books of accounts , mr additional commissioner rudely behaved with me (Chartered Accountant) and speaking vulgar language, I request our honorable president take necessary action against this additional commissioner, just one week he completed assessment not giving proper notice and time to our client.
    now we appealed this case

    • b.s.waghela says:

      Please take up the matter with the Central Vigilance Commissioner with copy to the Revenue Secretary and the Chairman, CBDT. If there is no response file Public Interest Litigation.

  3. Deepk Soni says:

    IT IS REALLY SURPRISING WHY A HABITUAL CIT WAS ALLOWED TO CONTINUE IN THE OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER . I AM SURE THAT HE MUST HAVE HAD BLESSINGS OF ALL THE SENIORS AND BLESSINGS OF THE CBDT ALSO. IT WAS ENTIRE GAME OF YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I YOURS.AN HONEST AND INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION AGENCY SHOULD CONDUCT THE INVESTIGATION COVERING THE BLESSING ASPECT OF THE CBDT ALSO.THE INVESTIGATING AGENCY SHOULD BE TEAM OF INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS OF HIGH INTEGRITY.HONESTY AND INTEGRITY OF THE CBI OFFICERS ARE VERY WELL KNOWN.

  4. Mukesh Kapoor says:

    It is a matter of concern that the reputation of CAs is tarnished to such an extent that it is taken for granted that the role of middlemen are performed by our brethren.
    Unfortunately we are to be blamed for the state of affairs. Quest for quick buck has gone deep down in our character. The leaders of our profession should set exemplary professionalism to restore the glory of our Institute.

  5. j r kota says:

    Mr.Goraroy, you say you are “in CA practice for 34 years”, but there is no clarity of thought and expression. What is it you wanted to convey?

  6. Waghela b.s. says:

    Why this Suman is not removed under Rule 56(j) so far ? How much money he has given to the Revenue Secretary, CBDT Chairman and others who matter. CVC should take cognizance of this CBI Press Release.

  7. GORAROY says:

    As an C.A in practice for 34 years, I can only ask, what is the Vigilance Deptt. of the Deptt. itself, the recommendatory hierarchy for promotions and others in the huge I T Deptt.set up doing to add to Narendra Modi’s corruption-free dream for India ?

    • b.s.waghela says:

      Vigilance department is just watching and by blackmailing the concerned corrupt officer they extract money for taking no action. The problem is that the officers who are supposed to take action are themselves corrupt. Most of the Officers have made Incometax service a business concern.

  8. Dev Kumar Kothari says:

    No officer has courage to allow a relief which is not allowable as per strict interpretation of law. However, they are in habit of denying legal relief as per clear law and binding precedence.

    Grapevine is that bribes are paid not for seeking illegal relief ( becasue it is liable to be reversed in further proceeding) but to avoid harassment due to denial of legal relief, delay in action and inaction of officers.

    Power to harass must be curtailed if MODI sarkar want to eradicate corruption.

    Reasons of corruption are greed which is natural but can be curbed and controlled, power to harras and no meaningful or substantial action against wrong done by government officers.
    Tax officers have hardly any fear while not acting as per law and by not followign bindign precedence. In this regard gross indiscipline must not be tolerated.

    To reduce corruption, governemtn must also think about reducing salaries, perquisites, size of chambers and flats provided to government officers which are disproportionate to their caliber, and contribution. Sitting in disproportionately large size of chambers, officer naturally consider himself as having super power.

    It is unfortunate that salary, perquisites, benefits and powers to make money by civil servants have increased very much wheras the same have not been increased for doctors, engineers, scientists who do real work.

    Primary education is important to inculcate honesty, sincerety, brotherhood, respect for elders , respect for law, and love for nation and swociety. Mere self greed is bad.

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