Hurt by the leaking of information on the searches carried out on bullion dealer Prithviraj Kothari, the income tax department will start checking the backgrounds of newly recruited and promoted officers who are posted in important branches like the investigation wing and central circle of the department.
Adding to the troubles of suspended deputy commissioner of income tax GD Sharma, responsible for leaking information to Kothari, 25 minutes before the searches began on Tuesday, the CBI has begun an inquiry against him. The investigation agency is collating details on Sharma’s investments in gold through Kothari and is checking if he had earnings through other sources.
CBI sources said once the details are gathered, a decision on booking the officer in a case of disproportionate assets would be taken.
I-T officials said that the leak had caused tremendous embarrassment for the department. To avoid a repeat of the incident, it is important that they run through the background of newly appointed officers, especially in important branches.
The investigation wing, which conducts searches on tax evaders, and the central circle, which handles cases on targets who were searched earlier are considered important branches of the department.
Meanwhile, searches on Kothari and his company RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd continued for the 5th day on Saturday. I-T officials recorded Kothari’s statement for more than 24 hours. The department began recording Kothari's statement on Friday after he made himself available to them after three days on the run. “Kothari’s statement has thrown light on many more important details that need to be probed and crosschecked," said another I-T official.
I-T officials also said that they are also checking if Kothari was involved in putting money on future gold rates. “This involves lot of cash which goes unaccounted, most of the time,” the official said. He also added that money earned through this mode is not reflected in the account books.
The searches had started on Tuesday after Kothari’s name figured during interception of calls by the Delhi police while conducting investigation into the spot fixing case.