Srinagar, June 3: The Income Tax (IT) Department, Srinagar, has filed FIRs against a Chartered Accountant and 404 other persons of Jammu and Kashmir in bogus refund cases.
A statement of the IT Department issued here Friday said that taking a serious view of the bogus refunds claimed by various persons in the past few years, the department has filed two FIRs against a Chartered Accountant and 404 other persons in bogus refund cases.
It said that the FIRs had been filed by Income Tax Officer (Technical), Srinagar, Akash Kumar Meena with the Crime Branch of J&K Police on the direction of the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, J&K and Ladakh M P Singh based on the investigation carried out by the Income Tax Officer (TDS), Srinagar.
The statement said that in the FIRs it had been alleged that a Chartered Accountant namely Imran Amin Dara of Srinagar and 404 other persons have entered into a conspiracy and defrauded the central government exchequer of Rs 16.72 crore between financial years 2017-18 to 2019-20.
It said that in the FIRs addressed to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Srinagar, the IT Department has described the modus operandi of the accused in minute details and shared their complete details with the Crime Branch like names, addresses, PAN, bank accounts, and the amounts fraudulently claimed as refunds by filing incorrect IT returns in a clandestine manner.
The statement said that it had been alleged that all the culprits have taken more than Rs 4 lakh as refunds by filing incorrect IT returns for various years.
It said that all 405 persons had been booked under Sections 420, 468, 471 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code and Ranbir Penal Code read with Section 66-D of the IT Act.
The statement said that the Chartered Accountant, who was the main accused in the case, was running a consultancy firm ICDS and Company in Rajbagh, Srinagar.
It said that the FIR numbers of the cases registered on May 25, 2023, with the Economic Offence Wing of the Crime Branch, Srinagar are 27/2023 and 28/2023.
The statement said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Srinagar, Imtiyaz Ahmed has been constituted at the direction of Special Director General of Police (Crime), J&K for further investigation in the matter.
It said that the Crime Branch sleuths had seized all bank accounts of the accused persons and further investigation was in progress.
The statement said that the IT Department of J&K had also filed a complaint against the Chartered Accountant to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
It said that in a letter dated May 24, 2023, Income Tax Officer, Technical, Akash Meena has requested the Director Discipline of ICAI to cancel the license of the CA.
The statement said that last year, in November, the IT Department of J&K had undertaken analysis of refunds claimed by the taxpayers by claiming bogus deductions.
It said that it had been found that a large number of salaried employees of J&K have claimed bogus deductions under various sections of the IT Act with the help of some touts.
The statement said that such employees were from different departments like PDD, Health, Tourism, Education, Police, J&K Bank, universities, and even some belt forces.
It said that at the request of the IT Department, various J&K departments had issued advisories in March to their employees to update their IT returns and file ITR-U in case they had claimed bogus refunds.
The statement said 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 totalling to more than Rs 56 crore.
It said that, however, it was in the notice of the IT Department that many employees had not updated their returns and not returned the fraudulently earned refunds to the government with additional tax (penalty).
The statement said that in the coming months, such persons would be dealt with strictly as per the law.
It said that their cases were also likely to be selected for scrutiny in the near future and more FIRs were likely to be filed against such employees and the touts who were active in J&K.
The statement quoted a senior officer of the IT Department as saying that more than 20,000 employees of J&K government and more than 8000 personnel belonging to various other belt forces were on the radar of the Tax Department for fraudulently claiming IT refunds for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22 for which return filing dates were over.
Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, M P Singh said that the taxes paid by the citizens were used for development of the infrastructures like roads, bridges, tunnels, rail-lines, schools, colleges, and hospitals.
The statement said that the department respects the honest tax payers for their significant role in nation building but would deal firmly with the dishonest tax payers and such elements who misguide the public and help them in tax evasion and bogus refund claims.
It said that people who claim bogus refunds or evade paying tax, were likely to be booked under various sections of the IPC and could also be prosecuted under Section 276 C of the Income Tax Act, wherein rigorous imprisonment from six months to seven years is provided, if tax evaded is more than Rs 2.5 lakh a year and up to three years’ imprisonment, if the tax evasion is less than Rs 2.5 lakh a year.
The statement said that it was high time that people come out clean and pay their due taxes and also file their IT returns before the due dates.
It said that for salaried persons, the due date for filing of returns was July 31.
The statement said that people are advised to intimate the Income Tax Department in case some tout approaches them and promises to get their TDS amount refunded after charging some commission.