NBR asks to see bank account info of Debapriya Bhattacharya, wife Irina

Debapriya Bhattacharya. File photo

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has instructed the banks to show within a week all information on the bank accounts of public policy analyst Debapriya Bhattacharya from 2008.

It has also asked for information on his wife Irina Bhattacharya’s bank accounts from July 1, 2008.

A junior researcher of BIDS until 1995, Debapriya, gradually gained prominence after he joined Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), which had been founded by Rehman Sobhan in 1993.

The distinguished fellow of CPD had been its first executive director.

In 2007, he was appointed ambassador and permanent representative of Bangladesh to World Trade Organisation and UN offices in Geneva and Vienna during the military-backed caretaker government’s tenure.

Several groups have questioned his activities as a member of the so-called civil society before and after that time.

The Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) of the NBR issued letters containing the instruction on Monday.

In a separate letter, it asked the Central Depository Bangladesh Limited (CDBL) to give information on any BO account of Debapriya and his wife.

Contacted for comments, NBR Chairman Nojibur Rahman said it is not allowed to disclose information on the activities of the board.

Referring to the Income-tax Ordinance, NBR officials said the CIC asks for information on bank accounts and other financial information of taxpayers following allegations of tax evasion or inconsistency in accounts of income and expenditure.

The banks will have to pay Tk 25,000 fine at a time and then Tk 500 per day if they do not provide the information on Debapriya and his wife’s accounts.

The policy analyst told bdnews24.com it was not a new experience for him.

“I had to face harassments for comments on the economy from 2003 to 2004 during the BNP government’s tenure,” he said.

Asked if he considers the NBR action as harassment this time, too, the CPD fellow said, “I am not saying that. What I am saying is it was harassment at that time (during BNP tenure).

“But it’s a volitional implementation of law,” he added.

Debapriya also said he does not know why the NBR is investigating him.

In reply to a query on how much tax he paid in the last fiscal year, he said, “I have paid the tax. But it’s not a matter for you or me to know. Actually, even I don’t know. My office knows about it.”

Source: Bd news24