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CBI seeks sanction to prosecute top tax officer

All three are currently under judicial custody.

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published: February 4, 2012 2:37:39 am

The CBI has sought the Ministry of Finance’s sanction to prosecute Commissioner of Central Excise,Delhi,Dr Anup Kumar Srivastava over allegations that he and two others demanded Rs 60 lakh as bribe from mobile phone importers.

Sources said that the chargesheet against the three,including Superintendent of Central Excise Lallan Ojha and middleman Hemant Gandhi,was in the final stages and would be filed before a Delhi court as soon as the sanction to prosecute Srivastava was granted.

All three are currently under judicial custody. The agency has listed the allegedly large amount of evidence against Srivastava,a joint secretary-level officer.

Under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act,it is mandatory to obtain approval of a competent authority before filing an FIR or preliminary inquiry against an officer of the level of joint secretary or above. Officials initially said that since Srivastava had been trapped in this case,they did not require prior approval to take action against him.

The CBI was reportedly monitoring the mobile phone of Ojha and Gandhi and learned of the alleged demand for a bribe of Rs 2 crore from an importer,later negotiated down to Rs 60 lakh.

On Srivastava’s instructions,claims the CBI,Ojha staged only a “farce” search of a mobile phone importer’s office,keeping no records. Gandhi allegedly collected Rs 20 lakh via a self-cheque from the importer for this,of which Rs 3 lakh was reportedly delivered to Ojha’s office on January 2,2012. This money was seized by the CBI.

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