Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SHP)
Mangaluru, May 22: In a major financial fraud, Mangaluru-based surgeon Dr Sriram Bhat has filed a complaint with the police as well as with the income tax department and the CA institute against chartered accountant Venkatakrishna M for allegedly defrauding him to the tune of nearly Rs 60 lac.
In a complaint filed with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India on May 19, Dr Bhat has accused Venkatakrishna of misusing the money for reasons other than meant as fees/remuneration, defalcating the money received in a professional capacity, expressing an opinion on financial statements in which the accused had a substantial interest and contravening the guidelines issued by the Council.
Reportedly, discrepancies were observed during survey proceedings by the assistant commissioner of Income Tax at Dr Bhat's clinic on March 3. As per reports, the CA has allegedly defrauded the surgeon to a tune of Rs 55 lac-Rs 59 lac.
The survey by the tax officials revealed that the tax payments to the government were not made, although Bhat had made advance deposits for the timely payment of the tax. Dr Bhat stated that he had made remittances believing the CA, whom he knew from the past 25 years. Amid all the misappropriation, Bhat reached out to a leading chartered accountant firm, to assist him in handling the survey case and to understand the lapses made by the previous CA Venkatakrishna.
Meanwhile, once the fraud was discovered, Dr Bhat communicated the same to the accused CA. When confronted, CA Venkatakrishna reportedly gave a vague response and blurry clarifications. As per sources, a thorough enquiry by the police and income tax department may reveal if the accused had defrauded any of his other clients and incurred loss to the exchequer.
However, with mediation by well-wishers, the accused CA reportedly admitted misappropriation on his end and has come forward and paid a partial amount.
Dr Bhat said that the CA has remitted Rs 50,15,210 to income tax and Rs 16,19,735 to him after the action taken by the Income Tax Department towards tax and interest as per Income Tax Act. The total reimbursement was calculated at an amount of Rs 66,35,445.
"I was made to believe that the ITRs for financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19 were filed in time and tax due was also collected. But no returns were filed. Entire advance tax paid by me for financial years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 were never paid," Dr Bhat said.
The current chartered accountant firm that is hired by Dr Bhat from the professional standpoint asserted that the brunt of this would, unfortunately, fall on the surgeon. As the IT department would hold the taxpayer liable for the non-payment. It would involve in Dr Bhat having to shell out an additional amount (penalties, interest) along with the tax amount. However, it is understood that the disciplinary mechanism of the Institute of Chartered Accountants is very effective and in such cases of frauds the accused members if found guilty by the committee may lose their membership for a certain years and in some case for life time.
With current case registered, the investigations into the matter are underway.