The Central Bureau of Investigation Monday told a Delhi court that there are various state GST officers who allegedly accept money collected from transporters through middlemen in exchange for not charging Goods and Services Tax. The information was revealed before Special CBI judge Santosh Snehi Mann, while the CBI was seeking further seven days’ custody of Gopal Krishna Madhav, a Delhi government officer and officer on special duty (OSD) to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a bribery case.
Madhav was posted in Sisodia’s office in 2015. Madhav, represented by advocates S S Pandey and Shashank Shekhar, opposed the custody, saying the agency itself has said that the bribe demand could not be verified. The judge, however, was of the view that the probe is at an initial stage and the agency should be given a “fair chance to investigate the case”. Madhav was produced before the court on expiry of two days’ CBI remand. The judge remanded him to four days of further CBI custody. He will be produced before the court again on February 14. Meanwhile, the court sought the presence of alleged middleman Dheeraj Gupta on Tuesday, who was the first to be arrested in the case on February 6 and sent to judicial custody until February 20.
The agency has sought custody of both the accused saying new facts have emerged during Madhav’s questioning and they need to confront the two. The accused were arrested on a complaint made on February 4 by Jogendar Singh, who alleged that GST officials were demanding a Rs 3.5 lakh bribe to get his trucks released without paying tax. The agency told the court that a trap was laid on February 5, and Gupta, a private citizen, was caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 2,26,000 from the complainant on behalf of Madhav. As per the CBI, Gupta was arrested on February 6. This was followed by Madhav’s arrest in a late-night operation the same day. The agency claimed before the court that during Madhav’s interrogation, he disclosed “very important facts” to suggest that “a conspiracy at a large scale was hatched, in which various officers of the state GST office, Delhi are involved through middlemen”.