Three senior sales tax officers have been suspended for their alleged involvement in a Rs 50-crore scam. The three officers are deputy commissioners Lalitkumar Chavardol and Sadashiv Kulkarni and assistant commissioner Chandrakant Guthe.
The suspension orders were signed by finance minister Sunil Tatkare on Monday. Incidentally, the department has also sent a proposal to the CM to suspend a joint commissioner.
Deputy commissioner (vigilance) Sunil Sangle said that the scam came to light after a number of cases of fraudulent refunds were unearthed following raids.
According to sources, sales tax commissioner Sanjay Bhatia received a tip-off following which a vigilance team paid a surprise visit to the Palghar sales tax office.
A large number of files were found to be missing from the office and inspection of refund registers revealed glaring irregularities.
Investigations revealed that Pawan Kejriwal, an advocate, was the mastermind of the scam. Kejriwal manipulated books of accounts, produced bogus financial statements and ultimately siphoned off the refund money with the help of his clients, Sangle added.
Raids were also carried on a large numbers of dealers who were Kejriwals clients. Some of the clients have admitted to the fraud and agreed to pay the difference amount, which run into crores, Sangle said.
The department lodged an FIR with the Thane Economic Offences wing on January 11. Kejriwal was arrested on the same day and remanded to police custody till January 29.