Income tax commissioner B P Singh has landed in a soup and could even be arrested. He has been charge-sheeted for fraudulently using official letter pads of over half-a-dozen sitting MPs and MLAs and forging their signatures to lodge bogus complaints against a senior colleague to feed some “practically” personal interests. Singh has to appear before a Lucknow court on December 18.
A well-connected Singh, who is the son-in-law of former UP chief secretary Akhand Pratap Singh, is alleged to have influenced a senior bureaucrat in the state home department to scuttle the probe but in vain, at least till now.
Armed with a pile of documented evidence, telephonic conversations and statements of the witnesses made before a magistrate accusing the officer of fraud, the investigators are prepared to seek his custody from court for interrogation and are hopeful of a positive response in the near future.
It all began after the IT department’s divisional head office in Lucknow, IT headquarters in Delhiand even the finance ministry began to receive a series of written complaints lodged purportedly by sitting MPs and MLAs against a senior I-T official Meenakshi Singh, accusing her of corruption.Meenakshi Singh is posted as additional commissioner, IT at Lucknow. Since these complaints were made on the official letter pads of legislators and Parliamentarians, the top brass of IT took the issue seriously. As none of the complaints were backed by any evidence, the IT top brass opted to informally contact the complainants for more specific details of the charges levelled before deciding the fate of the complaints.
The IT bosses were, however, surprised to know that none of the MLAs and MPs, as mentioned on the letter pads, had lodged any complaint. On the contrary, the people’s representatives sought a detailed probe into the racket to bring the culprit to book. The income tax department then lodged a written complaint with the local Hazratganj police station in this connection. Meenakshi’s husband, who happened to be the then Lucknow district police chief, apprised his bosses of the issue and a case was lodged with the Hazratganj police against crime number 639/10 dated August 26, 2010 where unidentified accused were charged under sections 420/465 /467/478/471 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
“How and why will I lodge a complaint against someone I haven’t even heard of,” asked Congress MP from Lakhimpur Zafar Ali Naqvi, whose official letterhead was used in one of these complaints. “This is a serious issue and must be probed threadbare to identify those behind this conspiracy,” Naqvi demanded, while talking to TOI on Thursday. BSP MP Dhananjay Singh, whose letter pad was also used in one of the complaints, aired similar concerns.
However, the probe that took off as more of a wild goose chase, took a curious turn when investigators took up a two-page complaint made on the official letter pad of a sitting MLA from Siyana in Bulandshahr. Apparently aware of the misuse of such documents, the MLA uses numbered letter pads and keeps a record of them. Once the police contacted the MLA, things began to fall in place.
The MLA’s office records stated that the letterheads of the particular number were issued to the politician’s close buddy — Brij Mohan of Bulandshahr. The latter, in his statement recorded before a magistrate, stated that he gave the two pages to his friend Anand who, in turn, is believed to have disclosed the name of IT commissioner, Kanpur, BP Singh as the last recipient. Efforts to contact BP Singh proved futile. His residence landline number was attended by someone who identified himself as the officer’s peon. Singh’s cellphone was switched off.
A detailed charge-sheet was filed against Singh in a Lucknow court on November 9.