SRINAGAR — The Income Tax Department, Srinagar has taken a serious view of the bogus refunds claimed by various persons in the past few years. The department has filed two FIRs against one Chartered Accountant and 404 other persons in Jammu & Kashmir in bogus refund cases.
The FIRs have been filed by Akash Kumar Meena, Income Tax Officer (Technical), Srinagar with the Crime Branch of Jammu & Kashmir Police at the direction of the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, M.P. Singh based on the investigation carried out by the Income Tax Officer (TDS), Srinagar.
It has been alleged in the FIRs that 404 persons including a Chartered Accountant who runs a firm from Raj Bagh Srinagar have entered into a conspiracy and defrauded the Central government exchequer for a sum of Rs 16.72 crores between financial years 2017-18 to 2019-20.
In the FIRs addressed to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Srinagar, the Income Tax Department has described the modus operandi of the accused in minute details and has shared their complete details with the crime branch like names, addresses, PAN, bank accounts and the amounts fraudulently claimed as refunds by filing incorrect Income Tax Returns in a clandestine manner.
It has been alleged that all the culprits have taken more than Rs 4 lakhs as refunds by filing incorrect Income Tax Returns for various years. All 405 persons have been booked under sections 420/468/471 and 120B of the IPC & RPC read with section 66-D of the I.T. Act.
It is learnt from reliable sources that Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Imtiyaz Ahmed, Dy. Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Srinagar has been constituted at the direction of Special Director General of Police (Crime), Jammu & Kashmir for further investigation in the matter. It is also learnt that the Crime Branch sleuths have seized all bank accounts of the accused persons and further investigation is in progress.
The Income Tax Department of Jammu & Kashmir has also filed one complaint against the CA Imran Amin Dara of Srinagar to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. In a letter dated 24.05.2023, Akash Meena, Income Tax Officer, Technical has requested the Director Discipline of ICAI to cancel the license of the said CA.
Last year, in the month of November, the Income Tax Department of Jammu & Kashmir had undertaken an analysis of refunds claimed by the taxpayers by claiming bogus deductions. It was found that a large number of salaried employees of Jammu and Kashmir have claimed bogus deductions under various sections of the Income Tax Act with the help of some touts. Such government employees are from different departments like PDD, Health, Tourism, Education, Police, J&K Bank, universities, and even some belt forces.
At the request of the Income Tax Department, various UT departments issued advisories in the month of March to their employees to update their Income Tax Returns and file ITR-U in case they have claimed bogus refunds.
It is learnt from reliable sources that more than 9000 employees had updated their returns before March 31 and refunded the excess amounts of refunds to the government along with additional tax, totaling more than Rs 56 crores. However, it is in the notice of the I.T. Department that many employees have not updated their returns and have not returned the fraudulently earned refunds to the government with additional tax (penalty).
Reliable sources have indicated that such persons will be dealt with strictly as per the law in the coming months. Their cases are also likely to be selected for scrutiny in the near future and more FIRs are likely to be filed against such employees and the touts who are active in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
A senior officer of the I.T. Department, on the conditions of anonymity, has revealed that more than 20,000 employees of the UT government and more than 8,000 personnel belonging to various other belt forces are on the radar of the Tax Department for fraudulently claiming income tax refunds for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22 for which return filing dates are over.
The Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, M.P. Singh said that the taxes paid by the citizens are used for development of the infrastructures like roads, bridges, tunnels, rail lines, schools, colleges, and hospitals.
“The department respects honest taxpayers for their significant role in nation-building but will deal firmly with dishonest taxpayers and such elements who misguide the public and help them in tax evasion and bogus refund claims,” he warned.