The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has denied Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the permission to initiate criminal prosecution against two income tax (I-T) officials for releasing diamonds impounded during a 2006 raid without proper orders.
The CBI had sought CVC’s intervention after the I-T department refused to allow the agency to charge sheet deputy commissioners A K Suri and Dhananjay Kumar for their conduct. Sources said that CVC is not convinced by CBI’s contention.
Rajneesh Singh, under secretary with the Union government, had, on June 21, issued a letter warning Suri. Singh, in his letter, stated that Suri had not acted in a manner expected of an officer while on search duty. “He has displayed casual and negligent attitude in performing his duties,” the letter stated.
On October 4, 2006, the investigation wing of the I-T department began a two-day search of the office of Niru Impex, an angadia (traditional courier service) commonly used by diamond traders to send consignments.
During the raid, Bhagwanbhai Patel, who is employed as a delivery man with Somabhai Ramdas Angadia, visited the Niru Impex office with 18 packets of diamonds
belonging to several merchants. The I-T sealed and kept in its possession these 18 packets, along with three others containing diamonds, under prohibitory order.
Later, Vishnubhai Patel, a partner in Somabhai, met Kumar and Suri with two others in connection with the diamonds. On October 7, Kumar received a call from additional commissioner C S Parthasarthi, who instructed him to release the 18 diamond packets to Somabhai Ramdas Angadia after noting down the details. However, the acknowledgement slip showed October 6 as the date of release instead of October 7.
Also, the said acknowledgement slip was not signed by any I-T authority. The slip only bore the signature of Nitin Vyas, an employee of Somabhai, and A B Vanani, a partner in Niru Impex, Rajneesh Singh noted in his letter. Suri, in his appraisal report (findings of the raid) submitted to Parthasarthi, did not mention about the diamond packets being impounded under prohibitory order and their subsequent release.
Sources said that the value of the diamonds released should have been ascertained. Sources further said that Kumar spoke to a chartered accountant soon after the raid. “This is not professional,” they said.
Meanwhile, Kumar, arrested in a separate case of disproportionate assets, was released on bail on Friday.
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