The Punjab excise and taxation (E&T) department has quietly moved to re-employ a retired additional commissioner (E&T), a Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officer, and a deputy commissioner (E&T) through the back door even as the Punjab government had issued instructions not to induct a superannuated state civil servant on contract or be given extension in service.
Additional excise and taxation commissioner (administration) Surinder Kaur Riar, whose contractual services ended on December 31, 2014, has already been appointed as the additional chief executive officer of the excise and taxation technical services agency (ETTSA).
Similarly, there is a move to re-employ deputy excise and taxation commissioner SS Bangra as the assistant chief executive officer of the ETTSA, whose contractual services would end on March 31.
The Punjab government had created the ETTSA for the implementation of technical projects in the department and also to oversee its information technology (IT) related work. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is the chairman of the ETTSA in the ex-officio capacity.
The government is also planning to give additional charge of the additional excise & taxation commissioner (administration) to Riar as the previous incumbent, Shivdular Singh Dhillon, has been transferred as the director, Punjab food and civil supplies department, after being elevated to the IAS cadre. Dhillon was also holding the additional charge of the CEO, ETTSA.
Sources revealed that Riar’s file pertaining to her appointment was cleared by the chief minister’s office and attempts were on to get a clearance for giving her additional charge of the additional commissioner (administration).
Punjab excise and taxation commissioner Anurag Verma confirmed that Riar had been appointed as the additional CEO of the ETTSA. Asked if she was also being appointed as additional excise and taxation commissioner (administration), Verma said he was not sure as the decision would be taken at the higher level.
“Since Dhillon has been transferred, some officer has to be posted to take the responsibility of the chair,” said Verma adding that Bangra was retiring on March 31 and a final decision in the regard would be taken later.
Riar, who retired in 2011 at the age of 58, has already completed four-year contractual service on December 31, 2014.
Recently, the Punjab government had issued orders that no retired PCS officer would be re-employed or taken back on contract after December 31. The government decided not to extend services of 28 PCS officers who were re-employed on contract.
“This is gross violation of the rules by officials. The post of additional commissioner, E&T (Admn), is substantive and only a senior PCS officer could be posted on it. Moreover, the government has issued no advertisement before deciding to re-employ the two officials,” said a member of Punjab PCS Officers’ Association.
There is also resentment among the department officials who say they have no option but to move the court to stall the appointment of Bangar through the backdoor.
“The Punjab and Haryana high court had passed strictures against Bangra on March 18, 2013, telling the excise and taxation commissioner of Punjab not to post him on a position that directly deals with roadside checking or for the purpose of verification of goods and also for initiation of disciplinary action against him for consistently acting in violation of law,” said a department official.