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.
CBI arrests Guwahati’s Commissioner of Income Tax (Audit), Swetabh Suman along with an Income Tax Officer Pratap Das and a Chartered Accountant Ramesh Goenka for their alleged involvement in a case of tax evasion and criminal conspiracy
— ANI (@ANI) April 14, 2018
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.
Shame on IRS officer Swetabh Suman who demanded and accepted Rs 50lakhs as bribe. When that fellow was found guilty in 2005 he should hv bern kicked out of job and jailed.
Poor babus land up in trouble for petty sums but these big scoundrels escape.
— K.V.R.Murthy (@kvrmurthy666) April 14, 2018
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.
CBI arrests IRS Swetabh Suman, Commissioner Income Tax Assam, for taking Rs40lakh. He is the same person who tried to bribe a CBI Judge in 2015. Three more persons also arrested. @CNNnews18
— Nitisha (@Nitisha_Kashyap) April 13, 2018
@PMOIndia @kalityagi @DoPTGoI It's not the first time that Swetabh Suman has been arrested.He waa in Jamshedpur and same incident happened,when he jumped from wall and tired to run.He has resort in https://t.co/OmfJygMcs9 also supports him.Action strong must be taken.
— Sanjeev Kumar (@sanjeevmusician) April 14, 2018
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)
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) empanelled two IRS officers accused in CBI FIR for taking bribes from Sterling Biotech. They are empanelled as Chief Commissioners! What is happening in ACC? No fact checking? : https://t.co/CvcKmAC9MB
— J Gopikrishnan (@jgopikrishnan70) December 4, 2017
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Head of Branch
CBI ACB Guwahati