CBI registers bribery case against steel manufacturers, Central GST officials
KOCHI: In the aftermath of Income Tax (I-T) Department’s crackdown on unaccounted money in Kerala post demonetisation, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against leading steel manufacturers and unknown officials of the Central GST (formerly Central Tax and Central Excise).
The case pertains to the alleged payment of bribe to Central Excise officials for helping evade excise duty from 2014 to 2017.
The CBI Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Kochi, filed the FIR in the case at its special court here on December 24, 2019.The FIR was registered against Abdul Gafoor, MD, Kairali Steels and Alloys Private Limited; the company itself; Noor Mohammed Noorshah, MD, Kalliyath Steel Traders, Ernakulam, and unknown officials of Central Tax and Central Excise in Kozhikode and Palakkad. The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, a public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration, abetting public servant to commit offences and criminal misconduct. Meanwhile, Noor Muhammed Noorshah has denied charges of bribing any officer or tax evasion.
“CBI officers had approached us with this matter. We did not engage in any malpractice. If we had done so, the investigation agency should have come to know about the officials to whom we paid the bribe. We don’t manipulate records,” he said. As per the FIR registered by CBI, the Income Tax Department, Kozhikode, had conducted raids at the official and residential premises of Kalliyath Group in Kozhikode and Palakkad and other places on February 2, 2017, and seized many documents. “The scrutiny of the records unearthed unaccounted income to the tune of Rs 279.34 crore,” the FIR said.
“The documents included the monthly ledgers maintained parallelly by the companies at their secret offices, which contain unaccounted financial transactions. The entries revealed that certain amounts were regularly paid to Central Excise officers of Palakkad and Kozhikode division on different dates,” the FIR said.
The seized records show payment of Rs 5.33 lakh bribe to Central Excise officials by Kairali Steels and Alloys Pvt Ltd and Rs 1.30 lakh by Kalliyath Steel Traders, for evading Central Excise Duty, during the 2014-2016 period, it said.
“It is prima facie revealed that certain officials of Central Excise, Kozhikode and Palakkad division had accepted money for causing undue benefit to Kairali Steels and Kalliyath Group of companies by helping them evade Central Excise Duty during the period 2014 to 2017,” the FIR said. According to CBI, a regular case is registered to identify the Central Excise officers who had allegedly received money from companies to help them evade the tax.