CAT revokes suspension of IRS officer who probed Andhra CM Jagan Reddy for corruption
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Tuesday revoked the suspension of a senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer by the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh.
The CAT also directed that the state government repatriate Jasti Krishna Kishore to his parent department of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), where he was working as additional commissioner of Income Tax department till 2014, before he joined the Andhra Pradesh government on deputation as chief executive officer of Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB).
However, the tribunal allowed the government to continue the ongoing investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and Crime Investigation Department of the police into the pending charges against him.
The 1990-batch IRS officer was stripped of his post in the APEDB, soon after Jagan Reddy took over as the chief minister in May 2019. He had not been given any posting nor was he paid any salary.
The Jagan government also turned down his request for cancellation of his deputation and repatriation to his parent department, where he was expecting promotion as principal commissioner of Income Tax.
In the second week of December, the Jagan Reddy government placed Kishore under suspension on charges of committing grave financial irregularities during his tenure as CEO in the APEDB.
Several cases were filed against him under various sections of IPC including Section 420 (cheating) and 120 (b) (criminal breach of trust) and the investigation was handed over to the ACB and CID. The government also asked him not to leave Vijayawada till further orders.
Subsequently, Kishore moved the CAT challenging the government orders and got a stay on his suspension. The court also asked the government to clear his salary backlog.
The Telugu Desam Party alleged that Jagan had targeted Kishore only out of personal grudge. A TDP leader familiar with the development said the IRS officer was one among the Income Tax department officials, who investigated the alleged disproportionate assets case against Jagan.
“He assessed the income of Jagati Publications owned by Jagan and levied a hefty Rs 122.78 crore tax in 2010. He also pointed out irregularities in the alleged share of Jagati Publications’ shares at premium rates,” the TDP leader said.
TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the Jagan government was hounding the IRS officer only because the latter had worked during his regime. He argued that there was no scope for irregularities in the APEDB as it was a body meant to only attract investments into Andhra Pradesh but had no powers to allot lands or grant incentives to the investors.