New Delhi, May 8 : The Income Tax department has submitted to the Finance ministry names of four senior IAS officers and one IFS officer who have amassed a huge wealth of nearly Rs 491 crore, The Hindustan Times reported.
According to a ministry report based on these findings, the five officers - Arvind Joshi, Tinoo Joshi, Rajesh Rajora, BL Agarwal and RK Sinha, have amassed wealth to the tune of Rs 491 crore, excluding the market value of real estate assets that they possess.
One of these officers BL Agarwal opened 220 bank accounts in the names of his servants, gardener, cobbler, rickshaw puller, panshop owner, etc and deposited his ill-gotten money, the report states.
Says Agarwal: "Is it a crime to keep tax paid money at home? I have filed a writ at Bilaspur High Court and hence won’t say anything further". Agarwal has been reinstated by the Chhatisgarh government.
Says Rajora, who was Health Commissioner in Bhopal in 2008 for amassing Rs 5.46 crore unaccounted income: "I have challenged I-T department’s action which was based on suspicion in Jabalpur High Court".
The case of the Bhopal-based Joshi couple has already been detailed in the media.Arvind Joshi was principal secretary, Water Resources, and his wife Tinoo was heading the Women and Child Development department in Bhopal.
They created a record of sorts of being the richest IAS couple to caught on the Income Tax radar. "There was no parallel in the history of search operations against civil servants, as they were found possessing assets worth Rs 360 crore", an official said. Cash counting machines from banks were brought to the couple’s residence to count the huge amount of cash recovered.
Arvind Joshi says he has cases in various fora and since the cases are sub-judice, he would restrain from making any comment.
The IFS (Indian Forest Service, and not THE Foreign service) R K Sinha belongs to Jharkhand cadre. He was member-secretary, Statte Pollution Control Board at Ranchi, and he was suspended after a raid yielded assets worth Rs 17.75 crore. Sinha did not respond to questions.
Looks like the proposed Lok Pal at the Centre will have his hands full, as the cases narrated above are merely the tip of an iceberg.