IRD chief Sharma arrested for graftThe Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Friday arrested Chudamani Sharma, director general of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), on the charge of misappropriating revenue and settling taxes in a questionable way.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Friday arrested Chudamani Sharma, director general of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), on the charge of misappropriating revenue and settling taxes in a questionable way.
Sharma was arrested from his Lazimpat office in the afternoon based on complaints that he, as a member of the Tax Settlement Commission (TSC), was involved in misappropriating billions of rupees that was exempted by TSC.
Sharma will be presented before the Special Court on Sunday.
The TSC, formed in February 2015, had run into controversy after a report of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in April called into question the Rs 21 billion tax exemption granted to various enterprises.
The OAG report said that the TSC exempted the enterprises from tax worth Rs 21 billion which was 68 percent of the total due or outstanding tax amount that needed to be collected.
The report also said that most of the enterprises were granted tax exemption not because disputes had reached the court but because they were not willing to abide by the instructions of the tax authorities.
According to the OAG report, the TSC had assessed taxes that were due or outstanding till the fiscal year 2012-13.
The TSC had received 1,726 applications seeking settlement of due tax amount worth Rs 40.8 billion.
“It had reviewed 1,069 applications from which due tax amount of Rs 30.5 billion should have been recovered. But during the course of negotiations, the commission exempted tax worth Rs 21 billion and recovered only Rs 9.5 billion,” said the OAG report.
The three-member TSC was formed by the then Finance Ministry Ram Sharan Mahat in February, 2015.
According to the CIAA, it had started investigation over the issue even before the OAG report was made public.
“There were dozens of complaints against Sharma,” said a CIAA official.
Sharma, the first serving top official to be arrested from the revenue administration, is said to have a controversial past.
As Chief District Officer of Sunsari, Sharma had given the clean chit to Shiv Prasad Ghimire, owner of Sugam Gas Company which was charged with tampering with cooking gas cylinders.
In August 2014, the anti-graft body had caught Shambu Prasad Chalise, a section officer at the Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) while taking bribe from a migrant worker.
Chalise in his statement to the CIAA had said he was working at the behest of Sharma, who was then the director general of the DMLI. But no charges were filed against him. Nor was he brought under investigation.
He was later transferred to the IRD.