Monday, 14 August 2017

I-T refund fraud unearthed in Adilabad post office

I-T refund fraud unearthed in Adilabad post office

An accountant allegedly withdrew refund of PO agents

Nothing prevents the unscrupulous from making a quick buck. They often achieve their goal by exploiting loopholes in the system.

The emerging scam in the Department of Posts in Adilabad and Mancherial districts is a case in point.

An unqualified ‘chartered accountant’ based in Mancherial has been siphoning off the hard earned money of a couple of hundreds of deposit collecting agents for the last three years or more by fraudulently withdrawing their income tax refund to the tune of an estimated Rs. 1 crore.

The head post offices employ ‘agents’ who collect money from depositors for the schemes they subscribe to. The head post office in Adilabad town has about 200 such agents who collect the deposit money by visiting the depositors' homes. For this, they receive a commission of 5 per cent on the total deposit collected.

This money is deposited in individual accounts at the post office regularly.

The post offices concerned also retain chartered accountants to file online the income tax returns of the agents.

In the name of relatives

The income tax paid by agent-income tax assessees, which is about Rs. 3,000 each on an average, is usually claimed as a refund after proper accounting submitted through filing of the eTDS returns. In the present instance, the ‘CA’ under question, filed the returns and allegedly claimed the refund in the name of his relatives, the total amount adding up to Rs. 6 lakh.

This is the amount siphoned off from the agents in Adilabad HPO. According to sources, the amount would certainly be huge given the fact that he files returns for agents working under at least 25 other HPOs under the Hyderabad Director of Accounts Postal (DAP) Department.

Some of the agents grew suspicious on not receiving their refund and complained to the TDS Commissioner, Hyderabad, in 2015 but nothing came of it.

“Officials in post offices have also taken note of the irregularities but are reluctant to take action against the culprit as it could mean tarnishing the image of the department,” said an agent who lost about Rs. 20,000.

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