The CBI has arrested an official of the central GST department in a graft case after a two-day chase amid a series of dramatic events that included packets of cash being flung onto neighbours’ roofs in Rohtak.
The agency was acting on an FIR it had registered on the basis of a complaint filed by Sonipat resident Manoj Kalra, who runs a business of manufacturing medicines. The accused — four GST officials — were booked under Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120 B (conspiracy) of the IPC. CBI sources confirmed the arrest of GST department superintendent Kuldeep Hooda, who was produced before a court in Panchkula on Sunday, and sent to CBI custody for four days. The other officials who have been booked are Gurvinder Singh Sohal (superintendent), Rohit Malik (inspector) and Pardeep (inspector) — are also posted in the Rohtak office of central GST.
According to Kalra’s complaint, the officials had raided his factory premises at Rai on August 6. They told him that he had paid less GST and they would make a case against his company and impose heavy penalty. Kalra told the CBI that he told them he had deposited the remaining GST and also showed them an acknowledgment. However, they allegedly kept mounting pressure, threatening to conduct raids at his factory premises, claiming that he had shown less stock of raw material on record. “They demanded Rs 12 lakh as bribe from him and when he expressed his inability to give them such a huge amount, they negotiated and reduced the bribe amount to Rs 9 lakh,” said the FIR.
According to the FIR, Sohal asked Kalra to give Rs 4 lakh as part payment on August 6 itself, but the latter put only Rs 3 lakh in the accused’s vehicle.
Later, the complainant recorded a phone call with Sohal, who told him “wo saaman teen kilo hi nikla hai (the cash was just Rs 3 lakh)”. The CBI then laid a trap to arrest these officials. Sources said the complainant called the GST officials to Rai (Sonipat), where his factory is situated, on the pretext of handing over the remaining bribe of Rs 6 lakh to them, on August 14.
The activities of the GST officials were captured on CCTV cameras installed in Kalra’s factory — footage of which has been handed over to CBI. The agency also gathered more evidence by fitting a spy camera on Kalra when he went to meet the GST officials in Rohtak on an earlier occasion, on August 11.
It is not clear whether arrested accused Kuldeep Hooda was nabbed at the factory or in Rohtak town. CBI sources said sleuths recovered over Rs 60 lakh from Hooda’s residence during a raid. “A few neighbours also informed CBI officials about packets of cash being thrown onto their roofs. The CBI visited the roofs to collect the money on Friday midnight,” said sources.