Tax searches on Games contractors widen to 60 premises (Lead)

October 28th, 2010 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Officers of the Income Tax department Thursday widened their search operations, and visited some 60 premises across cities of individuals and firms who won lucrative contracts for the Commonwealth Games, officials said.

“Today we launched our search operations at the premises of some more Commonwealth Games contractors — around 60 or so. This is a part of our ongoing probe. We are examining if there was any tax evasion while executing contracts,” a senior tax official said here.

He said the cities where the search operations took place included the national capital, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai and some in Jharkhand.

“Our probe is specifically looking at the contracts awarded by the Organising Committee and the role played by its officials and contractors. There are also charges of bribery. We will seize documents and books of accounts if needed,” the official added.

Income tax officials had conducted similar search operations Oct 19 on some 30 premises of those who had won Games contracts. Among the premises visited by the tax sleuths was that of Sudhanshu Mittal, a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mittal’s close relatives had won some contracts, a senior official said.

The developments followed a host of measures announced by the government since the 12-day Games drew to a close Oct 14 to look into allegations of misappropriation of funds and questionable procedures followed for award of contracts for various projects.

Among them, the tenure of officials associated with the Games was extended, even as the country’s top auditor said a report on its accounts and financial activities would be presented to parliament in three months.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also set up the high-level committee headed by former comptroller and auditor general V.K. Shunglu to look into all matters relating to the conduct and organisation of the Games.

The prime minister had also directed the ministries concerned to conduct thorough investigations into all complaints received of procedural and other irregularities and said those found guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment.

The agencies conducting investigations include the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Directorate of Enforcement, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Central Vigilance Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

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