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ACB to probe government official Vikas Rasal over `disproportionate assets’

The anti-corruption bureau on Monday registered a disproportionate assets case against senior state government official Vikas Rasal, who was allegedly caught with Rs 65 lakh at the airport by the income tax department on July 6.Rasal has allegedly amassed assets totalling Rs 15 crore–208% more than his known sources of income, said officials.

The state ACB probe took off after the I-T department wrote in, detailing its investigation into his investments. An ACB official said that Rasal, additional registrar of cooperative societies, had allegedly loaned Rs 4 crore to a jeweller and another Rs 1 crore to a relative and charged interest on the amount, said officials. He owns shops and flats in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, the official further alleged.

Rasal, chief executive officer of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Iron and Steel Market Committee, was allegedly caught carrying Rs 65 lakh cash while returning from Delhi after attending an interview for promotion to the IAS cadre from the non-revenue cadre.ACB is investigating if the money found on him was the balance left after paying agents who may have promised him promotion in Delhi. Rasal was not available for comment on the development.

“We have information that he had carried much more cash than he was caught with. Now, we are probing why was he carrying so much cash and from where he had arranged Rs 65 lakh in cash post-demonetisation. He gave us evasive replies.However, we have intimated the state ACB,“ said an I-T official.

The I-T letter states that during a search of his residence, the department found chits with names of persons to whom he had loaned money . “We questioned two persons–a jeweller and a distant relative–to whom he had given Rs 4 crore and Rs 1 crore, respectively , and charged interest on the sums. We questioned both of them and they admitted to having borrowed from Rasal,“ added officer. ACB officials suspect that these assets has been probably amassed during his various postings in the service.

Sources said that Rasal is being questioned by the I-T department almost every day and the department is in the process of charging him under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016.

This would be the first such action against a serving government official under the Act.

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