The Union government has warned a deputy commissioner of income-tax for releasing diamonds seized during a raid without proper orders. The government has said that A K Suri did not act in a manner expected of an officer while on search duty.
The CBI, which was conducting a parallel investigation into the conduct of the officers in the said raid, is in the final stages of chargesheeting Suri and another deputy commissioner, Dhananjay Kumar. Sources said that the chargesheet which would have private parties also as accused is expected to be ready in the next few days.
Rajneesh Singh, under secretary in his June 21 letter, said: “Suri displayed casual and negligent attitude in performing his duties.” The letter comes over three years after the raid. The investigation wing of the I-T had searched the premises of Niru Impex on October 4, 2006, and the action went on for the next two days.
Niru Impex is an angadia (traditional courier) and it’s common in the diamond trade to entrust the work of sending consignment to them. During the raid, Bhagwanbhai Patel, delivery man with Somabhai Ramdas Angadia, came with 18 packets of diamonds belonging to several merchants. These packets and three other diamond packets were kept by the I-T under prohibitory order, where the department seals it and keeps it in its possession.
Later, Vishnubhai Patel, a partner in Somabhai, along with two others met Kumar and Suri in connection with the diamonds put under prohibitory order. On October 7, Kumar received a call from additional commissioner C S Parthasarthi, who instructed him to release the 18 diamond packets to Somabhai Angadia after noting down their details. “On the acknowledgement, the date of release was mentioned as October 6 instead of October 7. Also, the said acknowledgement was not signed by any income tax authority and was only signed by Nitin Vyas, an employee of Somabhai and A B Vanani, partner of Niru Impex, Rajneesh Singh noted in his letter. Suri, in his appraisal report (that details the findings of the raid) submitted to Parthasarthi, did not mention about the diamond packets put under prohibitory order and subsequent release.
Sources said that the value of the diamonds released should have been ascertained and also the revenue implications. “Soon after the raid, Kumar spoke to a chartered accountant. This was not a professional conduct,” a source said.