Delhi tax commissioner Jalaj Shrivastava has named Delhi revenue minister Rajkumar Chauhan, parliamentarian and former actor Raj Babbar and former Delhi deputy mayor Ramesh Dutta as persons calling him to intervene when an enforcement team of the tax department was surveying a south Delhi resort, in a suspected case of tax evasion in February this year.
The tax commissioner made the written disclosure a day after Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin told Shrivastava that his non cooperation, as a witness in the case, was a criminal offence and could land him in jail for six months.
Shrivastava had earlier refused to name the politicians who had called him up. Within hours of his admission, Justice Sarin issued summons to Chauhan asking him to appear before the Lokayukta on August 16 and explain why he intervened in the survey.
“I did receive a phone call, which lasted less than a minute (from Chauhan) (He) asked to intervene in apprehension of harassment by our officials. I would like to categorically submit that there was no attempt of coercion or influence at that time, or thereafter,” Shrivastava admitted to the Lokayukta.
However, Shrivastava’s submission to the Lokayukta has come as a total contrast to his note to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and other senior officials in February, in which he had alleged that a Delhi minister, a parliamentarian and a former Delhi municipal councillor were pressurising his team to go slow on the management of Tivoli Garden, in a suspect tax evasion of about Rs. 31.92 crore.
The Lokayukta had taken suo moto cognisance of the matter from news reports and then summoned Shrivastava, who however, appeared cautious while naming Babbar in his submission to the Lokayukta.
However, he claimed that he was not sure if the parliamentarian himself had called him.