I-T Officers 'Benami' Rs 4.4 crore Land Attached for Laundering

Published: 05th January 2014 01:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th January 2014 01:25 PM   |  A+A-


Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached a 'benami' beach-side Goa land purchased illegally by a senior IRS officer who was arrested few years back for allegedly diluting I-T appraisal reports of companies of arms dealer Suresh Nanda.        

The officer in question, Ashutosh Verma, is currently posted as a Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in Chennai after he was promoted sometime back by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on grounds of non-filing of charge sheet against him by the CBI.

The CBI, however, filed a charge sheet against him later last year.  

The ED, which registered a money laundering case in 2012 against Verma, Nanda and few others, found that the land situated in Morgim village in Goa's Pernem was purchased by the I-T officer "as benami, for a total consideration amount of Rs 4.40 crore."   

Verma was arrested by CBI on March 9, 2008 from a five- star hotel in Mumbai alongwith Nanda, an accused in Naval War Room leak case, his son Sanjeev and their Chartered Accountant Bipin Shah.            

CBI had said they were arrested from the hotel while they were allegedly discussing dilution of I-T appraisal report of Nanda's company to evade tax liabilities. An Income Tax team, under Verma, had raided Nanda's premises in February 2007.      

In the latest development, the ED investigation found out that the payment for the purchase of the said land was made in a circuitous manner by a number of people known to Verma, a 1999-batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (I-T).            

The land, the investigation found out, was being held under a different name in order to shield it's original owner which is Verma. Such a deal is categorised as 'benami'.      While only a payment of Rs 2 crore, for the purchase of the land, was made from the account of Ms Nitya Resorts (land held in the name of this company), the rest amount of Rs 2.4 crore was "paid in cash".          

Verma, during his recording of statement under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in September last year, did not elaborate on any of the allegations to ED investigators saying the "matter is sub-judice".        

An attachment action is done by the agency to deprive the accused of the benefits of assets obtained or created through illegal or corrupt means.           

Such an order can be appealed at the appropriate forum by the affected party within a period of 180 days.  

The 11,615 sq-metre land, under the registered name of Nitya Resorts Pvt Ltd, is at present valued at Rs 20 crore by local real estate experts.


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