The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested superintendent of the newly-established Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Monish Malhotra for allegedly receiving bribe through one of is close aides during his earlier stint in the Central Excise. Malhotra and the alleged middleman Manas Patra were arrested on criminal conspiracy and demand of illegal gratification charges by the CBI.
The investigative agency, during searches, recovered Rs 7 lakh in cash from the premises of Malhotra. This could be the first instance of a GST Council official being arrested by the CBI. The case pertained to the period when Malhotra held the post as Superintendent range-36, Central Excise.
It has been alleged that Malhotra had been indulging in corrupt practices of extending undue favours to private parties by not taking action against them in return for periodic bribes. On his instruction, Patra had collected money from many private persons during the period. It came to the notice of the CBI that Patra was allegedly establishing contact with the parties on Malhotra’s behalf and collecting bribes on quarterly or monthly basis.
The CBI FIR alleged that Patra had deposited these money in his own account to camouflage the bribe and later transferred the money to an HDFC Bank account of Malhotra’s wife Shobhna and his daughter Aiyushi’s account in ICICI Bank.
The FIR reads: “Monish Malhotra while working as Superintendent, Range-36, and Central Excise had been indulging into corrupt practices of extending undue favours to private parties, businessmen by not taking action against them in lieu of periodical illegal gratification. Manas Patra had collected money on quarterly and monthly basis. The collected money is further delivered to Malhotra through cheques, NEFT or cash by routing it through various accounts.”
Reacting to this, Finance Ministry officials said the GST superintendent was managing correspondence from various stakeholders in the Council and was not in a position to deal with the public. “The money he was allegedly collecting was for the period when he was in the Central Excise”, the officials added.
A CBI official said that the agency had received input that Patra was scheduled to deliver collections of the “last few days” at Malhotra’s residence on Wednesday, along with the paper containing details of receipt of bribes when the team reached there and arrested him after searching the premises.
The case was registered under section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 7, 8 of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988, according to news agency ANI.