Gurugram police forms SIT to probe 2017 MCG property tax scam
A routine audit in August 2017 found that between August 2015 and April 2017, three MCG employees allegedly forged signatures of the then commissioner, joint commissioners and zonal taxation officers (ZTOs) to allow 95 property owners deposit their tax under the residential category, instead of the commercial bracket. Commercial tax slabs are roughly five times higher as compared to the residential slabs.gurgaon Updated: Aug 03, 2018 15:18 IST
The Gurugram police has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into alleged fraud by some officials of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) in the collection of property tax last year causing a loss of Rs 6 crore to the civic body.
A routine audit by the zonal taxation officials in August 2017 blew the lid off the scam. The audit found that between August 2015 and April 2017, three MCG employees allegedly forged signatures of the then commissioner, V Umashankar, joint commissioners and zonal taxation officers (ZTOs) to allow 95 property owners deposit their tax under the residential category, instead of the commercial bracket. Commercial tax slabs are roughly five times higher as compared to the residential slabs.
Property tax is the MCG’s primary source of income and in fiscal 2017-’18, the civic body had mopped up Rs 472 crore in property taxes.
Emboldened by the fact their fraud remained undetected, the accused officials also floated a website to attract more people, promising them tax saving.
However, by the time the audit by zonal taxation officers detected the scam in August last year, the three accused employees had already been removed from their posts in the light of other allegations against them.
Based on the complaint by the MCG, a case was registered against the employees at Sadar and DLF Phase 2 police stations the same month.
The city police have constituted an SIT after a Haryana Assembly committee took cognizance of the issue last week after the matter was raised by some members in the House. The Assembly panel has sought a progress report in the investigation into the case from the police.
Sandeep Malik, ACP, Udyog Vihar, had been assigned the case. “An SIT team has been formed in the case. However, since the issue is under investigation, I cannot share details,” Malik said.
According to MCG officials, Malik had recorded the statements of all zonal taxation officers (ZTOs) in the case on Wednesday. Malik stopped short of confirming this development or revealing the identity of the accused.
MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said, “The matter is under investigation and the truth will come out once the inquiry is over. Based on the inquiry report, action will be taken.”
The beneficiary taxpayers said they had no clue about the fraud and simply fell for the offer, whereby they had to pay their taxes under residential slabs instead of commercial ones, assuming it was legal. The 95 property owners, who fell for the offer, have been given a clean chit by the police and the MCG.
After a case was filed, the matter made headlines in media reports and also caught the attention of the state government. This led to Haryana Urban Local Bodies (ULB) minister Kavita Jain demanding a report into the matter from then MCG commissioner V Umashankar in August 2017.
The report, subsequently sent by the MCG to the minister, the same month, highlighted the modus operandi of the accused. As per the MCG report, the accused scanned and photocopied documents of the civic body containing signatures of senior officials and replicated them in 95 property tax bills.
First Published: Aug 03, 2018 15:17 IST