The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing an Income-Tax fraud allegedly involving several Infosys employees, officials of the Income Tax Department-managed Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) in Bengaluru and a fake Chartered Accountant believed to be the kingpin. The fraud is alleged to have caused the department a loss of Rs 50 million by way of refunds against forged documents. According to the CBI FIR, which was reviewed by Business Standard, Nagesh Shastri, a partner with one SSK Associates and a professed Chartered Accountant, had filed nearly 1,010 fraudulent returns involving around 250 private sector employees. He allegedly did this in connivance officials at the CPC and some unknown private persons, and claimed refunds by submitting false information. The refunds were for the assessment years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. The FIR explained Shastri's modus operandi, stating that he was filing revised returns of income claiming refunds using the identities of assessees whose original returns had already been processed by CPC.
All these revised returns were filed with inflated claims on account of payments towards housing loan. In some cases, original returns of income reflected no income or loss under the head 'income from house property', while loss on house property was shown in the revised returns. In some cases, fake higher losses were claimed from let out property, offering nominal rental for tax. "The unknown officials of M/s Infosys Technologies Ltd., who were entrusted with the work of processing the returns and the Income Tax Officials at CPC, Bangalore who were authorised to approve issue of refund suspected to have connived with Shri Nagesh Shastri in processing these revised returns based on false information/documents knowingly and issued I-T refunds to the tune of about Rs 5.00 crore (Rs 50 million) against these revised returns," said the FIR which was filed by the Anti-Corruption Branch of CBI in Bengaluru. The refund amount was subsequently shared between Shastri, the said I-T official as well as officials of Infosys, causing loss to the state exchequer, it added. The CPC in Bengaluru is managed by Infosys on a public-private partnership model wherein the executives of the IT giant work hand-in-hand with the I-T officials in managing the centre. As per the engagement model, Infosys has developed the entire IT infrastructure for the centre and is paid on a per-transaction model. An email sent to Infosys did not elicit any response while the company executives could not be reached over the phone for their comments on this issue. An official of the CPC declined to comment on the matter.