Rs 16.64 cr worth Income Tax refund claims scam detected

IT Deptt gets FIRs lodged against CA, 404 persons

4 AINs, 9 TANs of Govt Deptts used in committing fraud

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 2: Rs 16.64 crore worth Income Tax refund claims scam by using bogus and inactive Accounts Office Identification Number (AINs) and Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) of different Government Departments has been detected by the Income Tax Department, which has got two separate FIR lodged against one Chartered Accountant and 404 other persons with the Crime Branch Srinagar.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that after detailed investigation by the office of the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, Manachira Kozhikode (Kerala) regarding bogus refund claims by manipulating inactive AINs and creation of fraudulent TAN by certain unscrupulous persons, information which pertains to Jammu and Kashmir was shared with the Commissioner of Income Tax (TDS) Chandigarh in the month of January last year.
Subsequently, the Income Tax Officer (TDS) Srinagar carried out further detailed investigation by recording the statements under Section 131 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 of various persons and it came to the fore that main person behind the scam in Jammu and Kashmir was Imran Dara, Chartered Account, who used three bogus AIN and one inactive AIN of four Government departments and uploaded bogus amounts of payments as well as TDS on several TAN.
Later, he credited 1208 PANs of his known persons. Out of these, 404 PAN holders had filed Income Tax returns and got the refunds of TDS deposited in their bank accounts which were withdrawn subsequently.
The investigation further revealed that 4 AINs and 9 TANs were used by Imran Dara to execute the scam. The AINs were of Sub-Divisional Magistrate Office, Dawar, Gurez Bandipora, Principal Government Higher Secondary School Kupwara, Executive Engineer, Sumbal and Executive Engineer R&B, Right River Circular Road Srinagar.
The TANs which were used in the scam were allotted to Executive Engineer, R&B Right River Circular Road Division Srinagar, Executive Engineer Division Sumbal, Principal Government Girls Higher Secondary School Kupwara, SDM office Dewar, SDM office Gurez, Headmaster Govt Higher Secondary School Budgam, Headmaster Government High School Bulginder Bandipora, Headmaster Govt Secondary School Kilshay Gurez, Headmaster High School Chorwan Gurez, Executive Engineer Division Sumbal, Sonawari, Executive Engineer Irrigation Division Kulgam, Assistant Controller, Legal Metrology Shopian and Government Secondary School Boniar Bandipora.
Enquiries revealed that the TAN holders were mostly school teachers and didn’t file any TDS return though in some cases TDS on salary was deducted. Moreover, DDOs were unaware that their TANs were being used for bogus refund claim by filing false returns in their name.
In Financial Year 2016-17, the TDS credit in bogus Form 24G filed through AIN-11004471 of Sub-Divisional Magistrate office of Rs 5,00000 was liked to TAN of M/s ICDS and Co (Proprietary concern) and was finally credited into PAN of Imran Amir Dara and Proprietor of M/s ICDS and Co. “This shows that Imran Amir Dara is direct beneficiary of the fraud apart from being the mastermind of the whole process”, sources said.
The correct rate applicable for deduction of tax under Section 194C is only 2% but in bogus TDS returns different rates—10% and 20% have been applied for such payments and this shows that the fraudster TAN holders were manipulating the rates on higher side to get maximum refunds.
“The total amount suspected to be involved in bogus refund was approximately Rs 88 crore spread over four years-2018-19 to 2021-22. During the detailed investigation, a total of 1208 PANs were identified which were to be used to carry out bogus refunds”, sources said. However, out of 1208 distinct PANs only 410 persons filed ITRs and out of 410 ITRs, refunds in 404 cases totaling Rs 16.64 crore have been issued for Assessment Year 2018-19 and 2020-21.
“All this clearly indicates that CA Imran Amin Dara and 404 PAN holders are the ultimate beneficiary being the persons who have received the refund amount”, sources said.
The FIRs have been filed by Akash Kumar Meena, Income Tax Officer (Technical), Srinagar with the Crime Branch of Jammu & Kashmir Police on the direction of the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax Srinagar M P Singh.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted at the direction of Special Director General of Police (Crime) for further investigation in the matter.