Two tax assistant officers arrested for accepting bribe from hotelier

Two tax assistant officers posted with the office of the State Goods and Services Tax (GST) at Konkan Bhavan in Belapur were arrested on Thursday by the anti-corruption unit of the Thane police on the charge of bribery.

They were identified as Praveen Wankhede (28) and Akaash Khobragade (28), both grade three officers. While Mr. Wankhede was caught red-handed while receiving ₹10,000 from the complainant, a hotelier in Kamothe, Mr. Khobragade was arrested for encouraging him to accept the money.

The hotelier had planned to start a Chinese goods shop last year and had obtained GST number. But due to some reasons, he could not start it and the GST number remained unused.

“As per the government rules, there is a per-day fine for an unused GST number. When he calculated, it came to around ₹35,000. He also got a letter from the Income Tax department asking him to pay the tax against the GST number. When he consulted his charted accountant (CA), he checked online and found that the GST number was cancelled long ago and that he did not have to pay any tax against it,” an officer from Thane ACB said.

Meanwhile, the accused approached him demanding ₹40,000 for evading the tax payment. After much bargaining, they agreed to settle on ₹10,000.

The hotelier then approached the ACB. First the accused were asked to meet the complainant at his business place.

The accused went there but did not enter as there were CCTV cameras. Later they called the complainant to the canteen of Konkan Bhavan where the police had laid a trap. After receiving ₹10,000, the accused handed the complainant a status report as zero tax, a copy of which the complainant’s CA had already procured online.

“Due to lack of knowledge of the GST procedure, the accused were trying to extract money. The accused had joined the department two years ago,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:56:14 AM |

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