At least Rs 1 crore, which could be much more, has been allegedly siphoned off by data operators handling tax returns in the Hyderabad commissionerate .hey allegedly diverted income tax refunds to their own accounts. This is the second such incident in the past six months. A similar incident in Mumbai involved a theft of Rs 20 crore.
Short on staff, the I-T department has been outsourcing tax return operations. And in the latest scam, the operators have diverted the refunds of around 25 people to their own accounts. The hand of some taxmen in the Hyderabad racket is not being ruled out and is now being internally investigated by the ‘Confidential’ section of the chief commissioner’s office. The investigation team is headed by deputy commissioner of I-T K Harita, who reports directly to the chief commissioner
The job of processing returns was outsourced for a nominal sum on an ad-hoc basis in recent times. These operators are then trained to use the AST software designed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to process electronically filed returns . But what has led to the problem is that these youngsters, often recommended by department officials, are hired for a short term sans proper background check.
In any given year, the number of returns filed are as high as 30,000 in each range, whereas CBDT states that every person is to handle not more than 2,000 applications.