Sunday, 21 February 2016

Four Excise officer caught taking Rs 1.09 cr bribe

PUNE: In the biggest ever recovery of a bribe amount by the CBI in the city, the superintendent of the office of the Director General of Central Excise and Custom (Intelligence), Pune regional unit, Krishna Mahadik, was arrested on Friday night for allegedly accepting a bribe of over Rs 1.09 crore from two Jalna-based industrialists at Wakdewadi.

CBI officials also arrested one of the industrialists, Surender Pitti of M/s SRJ Pitti Private Ltd and booked industrialist Dinesh Bharuka of M/s Om Sai Ram. Mahadik and Pitti are in CBI custody till January 10.

A search of Mahadik's residence yielded a revolver, Rs 6.37 lakh, 15 kg of silver articles, 250 gm gold jewellery, US$ 800 and 80 files containing documents about the purchase of flats. A search of his office in Sadashiv Peth was also in progress.

Addressing a news conference on Saturday, Vidya Kulkarni, superintendent of police (SP), CBI anti-corruption bureau, described the recovery of money as the biggest ever in a bribery case in Pune. "The CBI had to bring currency counting machines to count the cash." Kulkarni said. "Instructions have been given to the banks to freeze Mahadik's accounts."

Giving details of the case, Kulkarni said, "Reliable information was received on January 7 that a Jalna-based businessman was coming to Pune to hand over Rs 1 crore to Mahadik to help him evade excise duty. Police inspector (PI) Mahesh Thite verified the information and a team, headed by deputy superintendent of police Rajpal Singh, was deputed to keep a watch on both suspects and arrest them if a transaction took place."

She said the two businessmen arrived at Kohinoor Estate, near Bajaj statue at Mariaai gate in Wakdewadi to conduct the transaction. Mahadik was arrested while taking over Rs 1.09 crore from Pitti, Pitti was arrested at 1 am on Saturday and the CBI is on the look out for Bharuka.

A CBI team watching Mahadik's residence at Vishrantwadi was directed to search it at 10.30 pm on Friday.

"The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been informed about the recovery of foreign currency as one is not allowed to keep more than 250 US dollars in cash and the ED will take necessary action," said Kulkarni. "The forest department has been informed about a deer skin found and they will investigate the matter. A valid licence for the revolver was also recovered. The CBI will verify from the local police on what grounds the licence was issued," Kulkarni said.

She said that scrutiny of the seized documents was in progress to find out whether a case of disproportionate assets could be lodged against Mahadik.

Kulkarni stated that there were many rolling steel industries in Jalna and even small units have an annual turnover of Rs 200 crore. "The turnover shown on record is understated by the owners. The intelligence wing of the central excise and customs has the job of finding these hidden records and checking evasion of taxes," she explained.

This is the second case in recent times that a customs official has been caught taking a bribe from a Jalna-based businessman. Custom inspector Deepak Kumar Bhist was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 in November 2010, Kulkarni said.

On January 3, the CBI had arrested retired income tax department official Nazira Sayyed and seized cash, fixed deposits and bank accounts worth Rs 1.15 crore. Sayyed was arrested along with tax consultant Rajjak Mulani and IT official Srinivas Madhavan for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 from government officer A H Inamdar.

According to Kulkarni, Mahadik, who hails from Satara, joined service as an inspector at Ratnagiri. He became superintendent of central excise and customs in 1997 and started working in the Pune office in 2006.

CORRUPTION CASES IN 2010

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Pune, registered 14 cases including four disproportionate assets cases, five bribe and five misconduct cases against public servants working in central government organisations in 2010.

The CBI has filed seven chargesheets and one closure report in the special court trying cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The probe in four cases is in the final stage

Source - toi