The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Wednesday trapped GST deputy commissioner Balasaheb Deshmukh while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from a Nanded sugar mill owner. For the ACB, led by Param Bir Singh, it was a first major arrest in 2020. According to an ACB official, the sugar mill owner had approached Deshmukh for refund of goods and services tax he had paid while purchasing machinery for his factory. He had submitted a proposal for GST refund, along with interest on it. The total refund was Rs 3.5 crore.
“Deshmukh had demanded Rs 10 lakh to forward his proposal to the GST additional commissioner, Nagpur. He accepted the bribe in his Nanded office,” the official said. This is the second time in eight years that the ACB arrested Deshmukh. In 2011, Deshmukh, then joint commissioner of sales tax, was caught allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from his subordinate. The complainant, a deputy commissioner, was posted in the Andheri division and also held charge of the Nariman Point office. When he was transferred to Bandra, there was no official order to hand over the additional charge. Deshmukh issued a show-cause notice against him, saying his additional charge of the Nariman Point office was illegal. The complainant claimed that Deshmukh demanded Rs 1 lakh bribe to not take departmental action against him.
As per ACB website, between January 1 and 8, the ACB trapped 19 officials in graft cases totalling to Rs 15.7 lakh. The maximum number of errant officials were from police department, followed by forest, law and judiciary, animal husbandry and dairy development departments. A bureaucrat said: “While no action is taken against corrupt officials, there is inordinate delay in disposal of cases by the judiciary. The government must bring in a system wherein cases are decided in a time-bound period,” he said. As per ACB website, 207 officials trapped in 2019 are yet to be suspended, 43 convicted officials yet to be dismissed, and properties worth Rs 6.6 crore of 14 offenders yet to be seized.