Detaining Hyderabad businessman's wife: 5 top GST officers in trouble; Panjagutta police seek CBI's help

Those booked include M.Srinivas, GST Principal Chief Commissioner- Chennai, Anand Kumar, GST Commissioner-Kutch, Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi, GST Assistant Commissioner (under suspension), Chilaka Sudha Rani, Deputy Commissioner GST (under suspension), and Isabella Britto, GST Superintendent. The five officials have been booked under section 354, 341, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

By Coreena Suares  Published on  7 July 2022 5:05 AM GMT
Detaining Hyderabad businessmans wife: 5 top GST officers in trouble; Panjagutta police seek CBIs help

Hyderabad: Trouble is brewing for five top GST officials who have been accused of illegally detaining a Hyderabad-based- businessman's wife during a search operation in 2019. Victim J Raghavi Reddy was detained for 24 hours in violation of law and Supreme Court guidelines. City cops registered the case based on the directions from the National Commission for Women.

Panjagutta police, currently probing the case, have written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)- Hyderabad seeking their help for further investigation in the case. Sources have told NewsMeter that cops have also visited the GST office in Hyderabad to secure copies detailing the sequence of events of the raid.

Those booked include M.Srinivas, GST Principal Chief Commissioner- Chennai, Anand Kumar, GST Commissioner-Kutch, Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi, GST Assistant Commissioner (under suspension), Chilaka Sudha Rani, Deputy Commissioner GST (under suspension), and Isabella Britto, GST Superintendent. The five officials have been booked under section 354, 341, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

The incident dates back to 2019 when the accused GST officials serving in the anti-evasion wing raided Hyderabad-based Bharani Commodities owner Satya Sridhar Reddy Jagannagari in an alleged tax evasion case. The proprietor was reportedly arrested and sent to judicial remand in the case. However, it was his wife who alleged the 'violation of constitutional rights of an individual.

Complainant J Raghavi Reddy said on February 27, 2019, at about 5.30 pm when her husband Sridhar Reddy was abroad, five persons barged into her house in Banjara Hills claiming to be the officials of GST. "Exhibiting aggressive behavior, scaring and intimidating, the five officials used force against us. One of the officers, Isabella Britto, threatened that they could do anything and nobody could question or obstruct them. Without a search warrant, they ransacked our house, causing damage to the properties," she told the police.

"Having found nothing, they forcibly took me to their GST office in Basheerbagh and detained me till 4.00 AM. At around 1.30 AM, two officials entered the room and introduced themselves as Bolleneni Srinivasa Gandhi and Chilaka Sudha Rani from the Anti evasion wing. Both of them began threatening me that if my husband (Sridhar Reddy) was to live peacefully, we (the couple) should pay them a bribe of Rs 5 Crore. Both told me that the entire bribe was not for them alone, but they have to share it with then principal Commissioner M Srinivas and Additional Commissioner Anand Kumar," she added.

Records submitted by Raghavi Reddy revealed that in 2009, she had given a GPA to her husband to act on her behalf in Hyderabad steels in which she was a partner. The exact copy of the GPA was handed over to Bolleneni Srinivas Gandhi during the investigation.

"He (Gandhi) tore the GPA and threw it away. They illegally detained me till 4. 00 AM. I was allowed to leave the GST Basheerbagh office after 4 am on February 28, 2019, with the direction that my husband should pay them a Rs 5 Cr bribe. On February 28, 2019 afternoon, Isabella Britto came to my house and once again forcefully took me to the GST office for the second time, where I encountered Anand Kumar, who threatened and directed me to tell my husband to pay the Rs 5 Cr bribe as demanded by Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi and Chilaka Sudha Rani during my last night illegal detention. Anand Kumar further told me that they have all the powers they had already showcased last night by illegally detaining me. During the encounter, Anand Kumar misbehaved with me by indulging in Voyeurism" she said

Initially, the victim approached the NCW with her complaint, who in turn directed the Hyderabad police to look into it and take action as per the law. Hyderabad police examined the complaint and based on initial inputs, they registered a case against five officials. It appears that the GST officers illegally detained J Raghavi Reddy for the whole night to pressure her husband Satya Sridhar Reddy Jagannagari for demanding a bribe of Rs 5 Cr.

Incidentally, Satya Sridhar Reddy Jagannagari had complained to CBI about the bribe being demanded by the same GST officers. Hyderabad cops have now booked them for illegally detaining his wife J Raghavi Reddy.

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