A major scam in Tamil Nadu’s noon meal scheme has been unearthed as the Income Tax Department has revealed payment of kickbacks to the amount of Rs2,400 crore to top politicians, senior bureaucrats and their family members.
The Tiruchengode-based Christy Friedgram Industry had its premises raided in the month of July. Electronic storage devices and documents related to suspicious payments, including classified documents such as proposals for posting of IAS officers had been seized.
According to The Hindu the Income Tax Department has started the process of issuing summons to the suspected beneficiaries of the scam.
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An investigation officer told the newspaper that “the documents we have seized include the book of accounts for many years that show payments made to politicians, bureaucrats and others, mostly in code, over a period of time. In a few cases, the names of the family members of bureaucrats who hold key posts figured in the list of beneficiaries.”
The officer also said that payments amounting to crores of rupees were made to some beneficiaries through online bank transfers, the rough estimate of the kickbacks works out to Rs2,400 crore.
Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the concerned bureaucrats were either in charge of placing orders or sanctioning bills. The official said the investigating wing will write to the Tamil Nadu government and other Central agencies, sharing details of the scam, for appropriate action at their end.
The investigators have also claimed that Christy Friedgram Industry evaded tax by allegedly suppressing revenues while filing tax returns and showed contradictory documents while seeking loans. Officials have said that the company had been blacklisted in Karnataka and a case had been initiated by the Lok Ayukta against the firm was pending in the Supreme Court.
The company had also moved the Madras High Court seeking a stay on the Income Tax Department’s action and sought to plead ignorance about the seized documents. Investigations are continuing.