A top official of the Goods and Services Tax department in Kanpur was among nine arrested on Friday night for allegedly taking bribes from companies.

The Central Bureau of Investigation arrested Sansar Chand, the commissioner of GST and central excise in the city, along with three superintendents and five others. Chand is an officer of the Indian Revenue Service of the 1986 batch. The CBI has alleged he is a “habitual” offender.

Chand was leading a “systematic and organised collection of illegal gratification”, the First Information Report said, according to India Today. He was booked for criminal conspiracy, and also faces charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The officers allegedly took bribes as “protection money” to spare companies action by the department, the CBI said. The bribes were transferred through hawala channels and paid periodically to the officers. Some bribes were in the form of mobiles, refrigerators and expensive televisions, IANS reported.

The officers were arrested after an operation by the CBI late Friday in Kanpur and Delhi, according to PTI.

The CBI also named three companies that were allegedly involved. It named Chand’s wife as well in the FIR, but has not arrested her yet.