The income tax (I-T) department and anti-corruption bureau (ACB) were severely criticised by the Bombay high court on Thursday for their ‘sluggish’ inquiries into Congress leader Kripashankar Singh amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar directed them to complete inquiries within four weeks, and submit a report to the court.
“It cannot be accepted that inquiries can’t be completed in nine months,” the judges said, noting that specific information had been given by the petitioner, Sanjay Tiwari, regarding bank accounts of the Congress MLA and his family members. “By now, the I-T department and ACB ought to have come to a firm conclusion on whether further legal action is required,” the judges added.
Government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalawade sought eight weeks’ time to complete the ACB inquiry, stating that Tiwari gave information pertaining to 14 vehicles, including two BMWs, purportedly used by Kripashankar, just two days ago.
Tiwari had alleged a link between Singh’s wealth and a money laundering scam involving former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, which is currently being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
But, additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, on Thursday, clarified that so far the ED had found no evidence linking the Singhs to the Madhu Koda scam.
Khambata added that the income tax department had stumbled upon cash transactions worth crores in bank accounts of Singh’s family members.
He told the court that the department had completed its inquiry, but investigation into the source of funds was yet to be done.
He was replying to submissions made by senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, who argued on behalf of the petitioner. Jethmalani pointed out that cash transactions totalling Rs 60 crore were reflected in bank accounts of Singh and his family members, and apparently no income tax was paid on the earnings.