BENGALURU: It was recently accused of ‘tax terrorism’, when Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha alleged harassment at the hands of a former senior official, now the Income Tax department faces another challenge.
For the first time in the state, the department faces a criminal complaint of assault, filed by a tax assessee.
Income tax assessee -- A One Steel & Alloys Limited, the premises of which were searched by the tax authorities for alleged tax violations -- has lodged an FIR against some Income Tax officers from Karnataka for assaulting their employees at company premises in Koppal district and another employee at his residence in Sahakarnagar in Bengaluru.
The raids were conducted on August 7, simultaneously at 16 places including Bengaluru, Ballari, Koppal, Hindupur and Gouribidanur. In the complaint, employees said that the I-T officials assaulted them as they were unable to find incriminating evidence after two days of continuous searches.
A director of A-One steel and alloys Ltd sent a complaint to Munirabad police station in Koppal district, on August 13, around 10.30 pm via e-mail stating that I-T officials threatened employees of their company and kept them under illegal confinement. It has been alleged that they were beaten up with bare hands and wooden logs, besides the officials kicking them.
However, a top I-T official rubbished the allegations.
“They have been framed to frustrate and intimidate I-T officers. The assessee is a repeat economic offender and was earlier raided by the department for tax violations, and by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Customs Department for alleged GST fraud.”
I-T Dept conducted survey against firm in 2015, booked case: Official
“The Income Tax Department will approach the court to quash the FIR,” a top I-T official said.
Meanwhile, another complaint was filed with the Kodigehalli police station in North-East Bengaluru by Pawan Sachdeva, 47, a resident of Virupakshapura who works with the company.
In his complaint, Sachdeva said that on August 7, around 9.30 am, raids were conducted at his residence and continued till noon on August 9. Sachdeva said that he had answered questions and co-operated with the inquiry but still was scolded in front of his family and later allegedly slapped by an officer, at the company premises.
Sachdeva said he suffered from severe ear pain and a checkup at Bowring Hospital led to the diagnosis of a blood clot on his eardrum.
He also accused the I-T officials of assaulting another employee, Pavan Kumar Zindal, who has been admitted to hospital with complaints of chest pain and vomiting. An investigating officer at the Kodigehalli police station said that they have taken up a non-cognisable register (NCR) case and are inquiring.
Similarly, in Koppal, the police have registered a case against I-T officials for assault and wrongful confinement and a police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent would investigate the case. Sources said that the company allegedly had close ties to a prominent BJP Union Minister from the state.
The I-T official said, “In 2015, our officers had conducted a survey operation against A-One Steel & Alloys and booked a case against them for the destruction of documents evidencing huge unaccounted income.”
The I-T searches have been temporarily concluded. The company is engaged in the manufacture of TMT rods and other steel products.
“During searches, voluminous documents and digital evidence at the factories, offices and residences have been analyzed and the modus operandi of tax evasion unearthed,” the officer added.
Allegations and counter
l A-One Steel and Alloys alleges I-T officials assaulted employees.
l Says 4 employees injured.
l I-T officials say complaint an attempt at intimidation, will approach court.