Maharashtra GST Department Officials Booked for Alleged Bribery Scandal

Maharashtra GST Department

In a significant development, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has initiated action against several officers of the Maharashtra GST department, including an assistant commissioner, for their alleged involvement in demanding a hefty bribe from a company director. The scandal revolves around a demand of Rs 1 crore to settle a pending tax matter, officials reported.

The case, registered under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, targets Arjun Suryawanshi, the assistant commissioner of state tax (investigation branch), and other officers. This provision pertains to offenses concerning the bribery of public servants.

According to PTI reports on Tuesday, the FIR was lodged following a letter from the special commissioner of state tax and chief vigilance officer to the Maharashtra director general of police (ACB), urging an investigation into the suspected corruption involving officers from the investigation branch of the state tax.

The investigation unveiled a sequence of events wherein Suryawanshi and his team conducted raids on a firm between July 5 and August 7 last year. The company had an outstanding tax liability exceeding Rs 20 crore. Despite repeated reminders, the firm’s director allegedly failed to settle the dues, prompting GST department officials to visit his office and residence.

Subsequently, on August 21, Suryawanshi purportedly sent a WhatsApp message demanding Rs 1 crore from the company’s director to resolve the tax matter. While no money reportedly changed hands, the confirmation of the bribe demand surfaced during the investigation, leading to the filing of the FIR. Authorities have confirmed that further inquiries are underway.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident in Maharashtra’s Pune district, unidentified individuals reportedly stole the control unit of an electronic voting machine (EVM) along with some stationery from the office of a revenue official. CCTV footage of the theft circulated on social media, highlighting concerns regarding electoral integrity and security.

The theft occurred at the office of a tehsildar in Saswad on February 3, as confirmed by Superintendent of Police Pune Rural Pankaj Deshmukh. Law enforcement agencies have launched efforts to apprehend the three suspects involved in the theft, and a case has been registered at the Saswad police station.

With inputs from PTI, these incidents underscore the ongoing challenges related to corruption and security that authorities in Maharashtra are grappling with, prompting calls for stringent measures to uphold transparency and accountability in governance and electoral processes.

By Naveed Uddin Khan Uzair, Staff Writer
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