Mumbai

Nirav Modi files shifted out before blaze: I-T probe

Report says thousands of Suspicious Transaction Reports and Dispute Resolution Receipts were destroyed in the fire at Scindia House on June 1

Thousands of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and Dispute Resolution Receipts (DRRs) of the Income Tax Department were destroyed in the fire at Scindia House on June 1, according to an internal assessment by the department.

The blaze had started on the third floor of the building in Ballard Estate, which houses the office of the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation). The office of the Debt Recovery Tribunal on the fourth floor also suffered damage in the fire. The probe, however, concluded that documents relating to the investigation into the assets of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are embroiled in the Punjab National Bank scam, had been transferred to assessment units in other branches and a centralised server in New Delhi before the blaze.

A senior official in the department said, “Maximum damage was caused to storage drives with STRs and DRRs. We have been informed that it will take some time to retrieve them. The records of other sensitive cases had already been moved out for assessment.”

The probe came to the same conclusion as the Mumbai Fire Brigade that the fire was sparked by a short circuit and ruled out the possibility of a sabotage.

The report drew parallels to last year’s fire at Lok Nayak Bhawan near Khan Market in New Delhi, which housed the offices of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department.

The senior official said, “Apprehensions about the loss of sensitive documents were also raised after the fire in New Delhi.”

The tax department had earlier clarified that fears about records related to Mr. Modi and Mr. Choksi being damaged were unfounded.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 11:29:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/nirav-modi-files-shifted-out-before-blaze-i-t-probe/article24436986.ece

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