Top GST officer Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi suspension extended again

By Coreena Suares  Published on  6 Dec 2022 4:00 PM GMT
Top GST officer Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi suspension extended again

Hyderabad: Troubles are mounting for Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi-Assistant Commissioner CGST, after his suspension was extended for another 6 months. CBI had booked the officer twice. Hyderabad police had also booked him once. The officer was placed under suspension in February 2021 and the suspension was extended multiple times.

On 8th November 2022, the officer's suspension was extended for a further period of 6 months by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs up to 7th May 2023.

Sreenivasa Gandhi who investigated several high-profile multi-crore scams including that of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy's quid pro quo and MP Sujana Chowdhary's ED cases has been in the eye of a storm since 2019.

Gandhi served as an assistant director with the Enforcement Directorate, where he was appointed as the investigating officer in a Rs 100 crore demonetization fraud case booked against Musaddilal Jewellers, a money laundering case against mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and many other high-profile cases.

Gandhi made headlines in 2019 when CBI booked him and his wife in a disproportionate assets case clocked to the tune of Rs 3.8 crore. The CBI was acting on a complaint filed by Vivekanand Swamy V. Gandhi was then serving in the anti-evasion unit of Central GST, however, continued to work in the department. But, it was in February 2021 that the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs suspended Gandhi and another officer Sudha Rani in a bribe case.

Chronology of Events

Case 1: CBI booked two top officers in a bribery case

The central investigating agency booked Sudha Rani Chilaka- former deputy commissioner of the GST anti-evasion wing and Sreenivasa Gandhi Bollineni, the then Superintendent of the same department.

The investigation found that Chilaka Sudha Rani and Sreenivasa Gandhi Bollineni, both formerly serving with the GST anti-evasion wing, were probing a case against a company 'Infiniti Metal product India'.

The group is accused of wrongfully availing fake input tax credit (ITC) to evade GST payment. The two top officers reportedly colluded with other GST officials and demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore for official help. "They (referring to the two officials) accepted Rs 10 lakh cash and demanded open land/plots for the balance of the bribe amount," CBI said.

The CBI booked the proprietor of Bharani Commodities, Satya Sridhar Reddy Jagannagari for keeping the investigating agency in dark regarding bribe demands. The third accused was arrested by the GST officials in an alleged fraud case. He was sent to judicial remand in 2019. The accused reportedly paid Rs 10 lakh to the officials after he was threatened that his wife J Raghavi Reddy would be arrested.

"He failed to report the matter to CBI or any other law enforcement agency within 7 days," CBI said.

Case 2: CBI arrested Gandhi

In April 2021, the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested and suspended Central GST Assistant Commissioner Sreenivasa Gandhi Bollineni in a disproportionate assets case.

"Bollineni Gandhi has been arrested in a disproportionate assets case due to non-corporation from his side; despite several notices issued by the CBI, the officer failed to appear for questioning," a top officer had told NewsMeter. It is pertinent to note that his suspension came two months after he was promoted to the grade of Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise.

On 24th December 2020, Gandhi was promoted since there was no pending charge sheet against him at the time of departmental promotion.

Case 3 : Hyderabad police booked 5 top GST officers for illegally detaining a city businessman's wife.

Based on the directions of the National Commission for Women, New Delhi, Hyderabad police booked five top GST officials for 'illegally' detaining a woman for a whole night during a search operation in 2019.

Those booked include Mandalika Srinivas - Principal Chief Commissioner of CGST, Chennai Zone, and his other team of officers including Anand Kumar, CGST Commissioner-Kutch, Chilaka Sudha Rani, Deputy Commissioner CGST (under suspension), Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi, CGST Assistant Commissioner (under suspension), and Isabella Britto, CGST Superintendent. They were booked under section 354, 341, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

The incident dates back to 2019 when the accused M Srinivas and his team were serving in the Hyderabad CGST division. Sources informed that the Punjagutta police are in the process of framing the charges.

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