The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a comprehensive chargesheet in the Rs 263 crore TDS refund fraud, accusing 14 individuals and businesses, including Kriti Verma, a former GST inspector who rose to prominence after appearing on television series such as Bigg Boss and MTV Roadies. According to officials, the chargesheet throws light on a complicated web of financial deceit.
The alleged mastermind of this elaborate scam is former Income-Tax inspector Tanaji Mandal Adhikari, who is said to have gained unauthorised access to RSA tokens and login credentials of higher-ranking authorities during his tenure, laying the groundwork for this fraudulent operation.
Verma’s relationships with several of the accused, including Bhushan Patil and Rajesh Shetty, are also highlighted in the chargesheet.
The probe, which began in response to a CBI FIR, is focused on the improper issuing of refunds for the assessment years 2007-08 and 2008-09. Adhikari, in collaboration with others, manipulated the system to create TDS refunds of more than Rs 263 crore. These illicit profits were then transferred to numerous bank accounts, with M/s SB Enterprises, owned by Bhushan Anant Patil, being one of the primary beneficiaries.
In an unexpected twist, the ED’s investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) found that Verma sold a property in Gurugram that was purchased with Rs 1.02 crore from the criminal business. Authorities tracked the sale earnings, which totalled Rs1.18 crore, to her bank accounts, which were then frozen. Verma has also come under criticism because of her close relationship with one of the accused individuals who profited from the illicit tax refunds.
The depth of this financial fraud seems mind-boggling. The illegal profits were used to purchase premium real estate in Lonavala, Khandala, Karjat, Pune, and Udupi, as well as luxury flats in Panvel and Mumbai. Furthermore, the perpetrators lived a wealthy lifestyle, as evidenced by their ownership of three luxury cars: BMW X7, Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLS.
Who is Kriti Verma?
Kriti Verma rose to prominence in 2018 after appearing in MTV’s Roadies Xtreme Season 16. She later appeared as a contestant on Salman Khan’s reality TV show Bigg Boss Season 12. She was evicted from the BB house in the first week, but she attracted a lot of attention from the audience.
Prior to this, Kriti Verma was a respected GST inspector.