CBI books GST Council official for bribery

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A Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council official has been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for demanding and accepting bribes during his stint in the Central Excise Department, an official said on Thursday. The CBI registered the FIR against Monish Malhotra, now posted as Superintendent in the GST Council, on Wednesday on charges of accepting money from businessmen on quarterly and monthly basis for extending undue favours to them.  The charges of criminal conspiracy and seeking illegal gratification under the relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act have been slapped against Malhotra. Manas Patra, a tax consultant, has also been booked on the charge of working as a conduit for Malhotra.  Malhotra was transferred to the GST Council from the Central Excise Department where he was posted as Superintendent-Range 36.  The FIR accuses Malhotra, a resident of Kalkaji in south Delhi, of indulging in corrupt practices of extending undue favours to businessmen by not taking action against them in lieu of periodical illegal gratification. Patra is accused of being in regular contact with Malhotra and many other Excise Department officers and working as conduit to collect bribes on their behalf.  Patra contacted parties on behalf of Malhotra when he was posted in the Excise Department and made collections on quarterly and monthly basis, according to the FIR. The collected money was delivered to Malhotra through cheques, NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) and cash by routing it through various accounts, it said. "In order to camouflage receipt of a few illegal gratifications, the amounts were deposited by Patra in his own account...all these amounts were transferred to the accounts of Malhotra's wife and daughter through three cheques of Rs 20,000 each on May 19, May 22 and June 1 and a Rs 30,000 cheque on May 24 this year." The CBI filed a case following information that Patra had collected several illegal gratifications from many private persons in the last a few days, which was likely to be delivered by him to Malhotra shortly, the FIR added.