AC Tejpal, Director of Income Tax, Central Information Branch, Mumbai, has alleged that the department’s computer network system has not been sending information collected on tax evasion to the field officers so that they could take further action.
This has resulted in a revenue loss of Rs 35,000 crore since 2005, claims Tejpal.
Is it true that in the last few years, data on tax evasion material collected by the CIB has not been disseminated to the income tax officers concerned?
It is true that for more than five years, tax evasion data — contained around 12 crore pieces of information — was not allowed to be transferred to the officers.
Why was the data not sent to the officers?
The computer software, which involves merely transmitting information from the central reservoir system to the various officers, was not developed properly for more than 15 years despite spending hundreds of crores of rupees. Then there is also a ban on manual dissemination of information. Thus, the information collected was not sent to the officers either through the computer network or manually.
Where is the problem?
The fault lies in the software development of such a simple operation with a complexity-free mechanism. Even if the software development was a difficult proposition, there was no hitch in transmitting the information manually through letters or compact disks (CDs).
It is suspected, or rather confirmed, there is tens of crores of data regarding illegal investment or expenditure of industrialists, politicians and bureaucrats. This departmental exercise would have exposed them all.
How much tax has Mumbai lost because of this problem?
In Mumbai alone around 12 crore of pieces of information have been stopped from being disseminated. You do the math.
What can be done now?
At present, the software is only passing on the current data to the I-T officers. Software instruction can be modified so that the old data too can be transmitted.
The 12 crore pieces of information has gone missing from the records of the I-T department, but that data can be rebuilt by writing letters to the various agencies, which had originally submitted the same to the department.