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CBI Announces reward of Rs 1 Lakh on ‘absconding’ IRS Officer

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The CBI has announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for providing information on IRS officer Santosh Karnani who is "absconding" since October 4 after his name surfaced in a Rs 30 lakh alleged bribery case, officials said on Thursday.

The central probe agency has also got a non-bailable warrant of arrest against the officer from a special CBI court as he has "not joined the investigation" after four notices from the agency, they said.

The agency had carried out searches at 21 locations on November 19 and 21 at the premises of some relatives and others, including some Income Tax officials, which led to the recovery of incriminating documents, articles and investment of Rs 41.96 lakh in the form of Fixed Deposits, they said.

The documents recovered during searches are being scrutinised, they said.

The officer posted as additional Income Tax commissioner class-I in Ahmedabad had allegedly demanded Rs 30 lakh bribe from builder Rupesh Bramhabhatt.

The Income Tax Department had conducted searches at Bramhabhatt's offices and prepared an appraisal report which was handed over to the Central Circle-1 of Ahmedabad for issuing a "demand notice", according to his complaint.

Karnani, who took over the case, allegedly demanded the bribe for not doing anything which could cause a huge financial loss to the complainant, said the First Information Report (FIR).

Karnani had called Bramhabhatt for a meeting on October 3 where the officer allegedly asked him to deposit the bribe with the 'angadia' firm account in the name of one 'Vardhaman', the CBI FIR alleged.

Meanwhile, the CBI investigation revealed that the Vardhman account with the courier service, in which the bribe was deposited, was allegedly owned by one Malav Mehta, they said.

The builder had complained to the Anti-Corruption Branch of Ahmedabad Police, which launched a trap operation on October 4, but the officer allegedly managed to give them a slip, they said.

Karnani was transferred to Guwahati nearly a week after the trap operation but he has not joined the office and is on "unauthorised leave", they said.

The Gujarat government had handed over the matter to the CBI which has issued four notices so far but the officer did not join the investigation.

The CBI opened a look out circular against the 2005-batch officer to prevent any misadventure by him to leave the country and conducted searches at several locations, including his native place in Jaipur, they said.

During the probe, it had emerged that the officer was habitually seeking huge bribes, they alleged.

The central probe agency has found that Karnani was in the "Agreed List" of the government since 2015 yet he kept getting important postings in the department, they said.

The government officers against whom there are "complaints, doubts or suspicion" related to honesty or integrity are put in "Agreed List" after consultations between the officers of the departments concerned and the CBI.

They said the agency is also looking into the aspect as to how an officer in the agreed list was being given sensitive postings which brings under scanner the role of senior officers involved in the process.


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