Mumbai: An income tax (I-T) raid on a high-profile businessman, reportedly tipped off by a family member, has resulted in the suspension of an additional commissioner. Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Shantam Bose was suspended last month after confidential IT documents were found at the residence of Dev Ahuja, promoter of Centurion Bank and managing director of 20th Century Finance. Ahuja is also the father-in-law of film actor Bobby Deol.
On May 11, I-T officers had carried out searches at NCPA residence of Ahuja on information of tax evasion supplied by a family member. “During the search, the officers found a copy of `satisfaction note’ pertaining to an earlier department action on Ahuja,” an official said. Satisfaction note is confidential and is prepared after the department is convinced that there exists a case of evasion.
The air intelligence unit of the I-T had searched Ahuja at the airport five months ago. A satisfaction note prepared for this action was found at Ahuja’s NCPA residence on May 11, sources said. Bose was the additional commissioner in charge of headquarters when both searches on Ahuja took place. Sources said that Ahuja’s telephone lines were being monitored and the department came across a conversation where information about the search was discussed.
However, one of Bose’s colleague said the file containing the first action on Ahuja was sought by a senior officer. “The satisfaction note was part of the file but Bose has not leaked it,” he said. Bose refused to comment. Director of I-T, (investigation) Bhuta Singh, refused to comment, saying he was not authorised to do so. His senior, director general of I-T (investigation) B P Gaur, too, refused to comment.
Meanwhile, sources said a close family member had provided I-T information about Ahuja. “This family member is all out against Ahuja. His mother is reportedly close to the wife of a senior I-T officer from the investigation wing and through him got the searches carried out,” a source said. However, a senior officer said this was unlikely.
During the search at Ahuja’s NCPA apartment, I-T officials came across details of Swiss bank accounts. “Ahuja has maintained that he was not handling these accounts,” an I-T official said. Dev Ahuja refused to comment and did not respond to a detailed SMS.