His wife Arti Karnani and llesh Shah, Director of Shree Kanhai Realty Pvt Ltd were among the accused named by the CBI, according to an official statement.
In October 2022, CBI has registered a corruption case against Santosh Karnani, the then additional commissioner of income tax, Ahmedabad. He is a 2005-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.
It was alleged that when an ACB Gujarat team reached the office of Karnani, he escaped from his office by creating a ruckus to disrupt the trap. The CBI alleged that before escaping, Karnani handed over two mobile handsets to Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Vivek Johri.
“Johri was apprehended for helping Karnani escape arrest. Johri facilitated Karnani’s escape and also disposed of his two mobile handsets by throwing them into the Sabarmati river,” the CBI statement said.
Later, CBI recovered both phones with the help of divers and other agencies using diving equipment and remotely operated vehicles equipped with SONAR technology.
The retrieved mobile phone data revealed that Karnani had allegedly shared official information with private firms and individuals who were either directly or indirectly connected with him or with the business of family members.
“There are incriminating WhatsApp chats exchanged between accused Santosh Karnani and llesh Kumar Shah, stored in mobile handset of Santosh Kanani as “Sigma llesh Shah”. The relevant chats exchanged between them are self-explanatory. Like on September 1, 2022 at 8.33 am llesh Shah sent a WhatsApp message enquiring whether the draft sale deed was ok and requested to review and revert. Upon which accused Santosh Karnani at 10:59 hrs requested, llesh Shah to send a revised draft and told that he will check and revert,” the CBI said,
From the scrutiny of the WhatsApp chat it has transpired that a non-agricultural land was acquired by Santosh Karnani in the name of his wife Aarti Karnani for the sale consideration of Rs 40 Lakh. Whereas the market value of the said plot is Rs 3.5 Crore (Approx), the CBI said.
During investigation of further chats and exchanges of documents transpired that Santosh Karnani misused his official position by way of advising against the income tax department and knowingly and deliberately helped llesh Shah get the favourable order in a matter pending before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, the CBI said. (ANI)