Following a complaint by a businessman’s wife, the Punjagutta police have registered a criminal case against five Goods and Services Tax (GST) officials on charges of manhandling, harassing and wrongfully detaining a woman.
The government officials have been booked under Sections 354 (criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC. Though the case was registered on May 13, it came to light on Friday.
The cops lodged an FIR on the direction of National Commission for Women (NCW), after J Raghavi Reddy filed a complaint against the officials. The accused officers have been identified as M Srinivas (principal commissioner), Anand Kumar (additional commissioner), Bollineni Gandhi and Isebella (superintendents) and Sudha Rani (deputy commissioner).
Of them, Gandhi and Sudha Rani are already under suspension as they were previously booked in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case for allegedly demanding bribe. This superintendent officer was also arrested in a disproportionate assets case registered by the CBI.
Though these five officials are now posted in different central government agencies, they were all earlier posted in the GST, Hyderabad unit.
As per the FIR , five people barged into Raghavi’s house in Banjara Hills in 2019 when her husband, Sridhar Reddy — a businessman trading in steel — was abroad, claiming to be GST officials. Despite Raghavi telling them that her husband was travelling, a female superintendent allegedly intimidated her and later the officials ransacked her house on the pretext of a search operation.
“Without showing any search warrant from the competent authority or court, they ransacked our house, which caused damage to our property. As they did not find anything, they forcefully took me to the GST office, Basheerbagh, and detained me there till 4 am the next day, violating my fundamental rights,” Raghavi said. Later, the officials allegedly demanded a bribe from her.
“Two people met the victim and introduced themselves as GST anti-evasion officers deputy commissioner and superintendent. They threatened her and told her to pay 5 crore in bribe, if she wanted her husband to live peacefully,” the FIR stated.
While the complainant was allowed to go home after that, she was brought back to the GST office again and made to appear in front of Anand Kumar. “He too threatened me and indulged in voyeurism. Therefore, I request you to take necessary action as per law,” Raghavi wrote in her complaint.