<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=467 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD colSpan=3>I-T informer threatens to go on hunger strike</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD colSpan=3 height=10></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD colSpan=3>Express News Service</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD colSpan=3 height=10></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD colSpan=3> Mumbai, June 10:In what could become a major embarrassment for the Income Tax Department, one of its informers has decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan from Monday if the department doesn’t pay his reward money of Rs 40 lakh. Identified as informer number 9402 in official records, the informer had tipped off the I-T department about a tax-evading businessman in 1994. The pending dues recovered from the erring businessman by the I-T department and the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act (SAFEMA) authorities amounted to Rs 4 crore.
An informer’s reward is supposed to be ten per cent of the total recovered revenue, which in this case was Rs 40 lakh. However, informer no. 9402 was paid an interim reward of only Rs 1.91 lakh.
After repeated pleas to the I-T authorities in Mumbai, the informer was asked to contact SAFEMA authorities for his reward, as some of the pending amount was recovered by them. However, SAFEMA authorities told the informer that he had provided information to the I-T department, so it was their responsibility to pay the reward.
“The Department of Revenue has received a revenue of Rs 4 crore based on information provided by me. I do not care which government agency recovered the money, I am entitled to my reward of 10 per cent,” stated informer no. 9402.
In fact, the informer had even resorted to the Right To Information (RTI) Act in 2006, to find out when the I-T department will shell out his reward money.
In an order in August 2006, Director General of Income Tax (Investigation) S S N Moorthy had observed: “The Central Public Information Officer would agree that the appellant could be considered for composite reward on the basis of the total revenue gain.” But it has been 10 months since this assurance from the I-T department, yet his reward is nowhere in sight. In a last-ditch effort, the informer has decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike till he gets the reward money. When Newsline spoke to a spokesperson from the I-T department, he said he would look in to the matter.