Ashok Malhotra, the kingpin of Chholegate who was remanded to 14-day CBI custody on Tuesday, has not just left the Congress government in Delhi in tatters but has also exposed gaping holes in the multi-layered tax surveillance mechanism.
On a day when the the urban development ministry also got into action, ordering a probe into allotment of plots meant for rehabilitation of slum dwellers between 2000 and 2002, the I-T department appeared to be waking up to the fact that Chholegate has made a mockery of the information tracking system thats designed to detect tax evasion and money laundering.
Thanks to the tracking system, the I-T department has over the last few years been able to collect data on a host of high-value transactions from property purchases to credit card payments, purchase of shares and bonds, phone bills and car purchases, to name a few. In addition, the tax department also has access to details of club membership and association and ownership of companies and their business activities.
The inadequacy of the surveillance mechanism today stands exposed with Malhotra successfully going around it and to buy just not a fleet of 17 swanky cars but a number of large properties too. I-T department, now much wiser from Chholegate, has now gathered information about Malhotra actually floating at least a dozen companies either in his own name or with others as front.