Bengaluru, March 3, 2018
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating a 'revised returns' fraud involving Infosys Technologies, some officials from the Income Tax Department (I-T) and one fake chartered accountant (CA) from Bengaluru, reported The Times of India.
The suspected scam, which benefitted employees of leading IT companies, was discovered by the I-T department, based on which an FIR was filed in January. The FIR states that some I-T officials and staffers of Infosys colluded with a fake CA, who has now been barred from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), to file 1,010 revised tax returns with the help of forged documents involving 250 taxpayers in various private firms for three assessment years.
Based on the revised returns, funds were claimed refunds illegally. It may be noted that Infosys is the vendor for I-T department's e-returns software.
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Nagesh Shastri, the fake CA who was filing returns and the same were allowed to circumvent the system by Infosys staff and get the required approvals, indicated the report, suggesting the presence of a major scam brewing in the IT sector. An Infosys spokesperson denied commenting on the matter without seeing the FIR. Shastri, who is a partner of SSK Associates, filed the fraudulent returns in connivance with CPC, I-T department officials and other unknown persons, following which a claim of Rs 5 crore in refunds was made.
The FIR mentioned that the processing of e-returns filing is outsourced to Infosys Technologies Limited, who are required to validate the returns in bulk and create a list of cases where reimbursement has to be approved.
"The Assessing Officers of the I-T department posted in CPC give the approval for release of refunds to assesses through their bank accounts,” said the FIR. CBI officials suspect that unknown officials of Infosys Technologies, entrusted with the work of processing the returns, and I-T officials at CPC - authorised to approve the issue of refunds - colluded with Shastri in "processing these revised returns" based on false information or forged documents.
It may be noted that Shastri, who was assisting private sector salaried employees to file returns of income over the course of last few years, had complete access to their user identification and passwords. The CBI FIR highlights that Shastri would file revised returns of income claiming a refund for assesses whose original returns were already processed by the CPC. As per the FIR, in all such cases, revised returns were filed with inflated claims on account of payments towards housing loans.
In some of the cases, the CBI said original returns reflected no income or loss under 'income from house property', but surprisingly, the revised return claims did. “Source information revealed that the amount has been later shared among Shastri and unknown officials of the I-T department, Infosys Technologies and others,” the FIR suggested.
Financial frauds in the country have witnessed a sharp rise, forcing the government to introduce stringent laws to punish offenders. The recent Rs 12,700 crore banking fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB) came as a major shock to the economy at a time when the government is trying its best to capitalise banks and crackdown on economic offenders.