Government retires 15 taxmen for graft charges
The Union government on Friday forced 15 senior tax officials to retire from their jobs over allegations of corruption and professional and personal misconduct that included, in one case, bigamy, two finance ministry officials with direct knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity.
One commissioner-rank official allegedly purchased a flat in Ashok Vihar, New Delhi, and handed it over to his estranged wife by way of alimony without furnishing any information on this to the department as required by conduct rules. “He allegedly married two women without any judicial separation from his first wife, thereby committing bigamy,” one of the officials said.
Another commissioner-rank officer, who was working in Chennai, had been “habitually availing hospitality of a taxpayer in his jurisdiction by staying at his luxury resort at Kumarakom, Kerala. He had also asked his junior to purchase an Apple iPad but did not make any payment for the same,” the official added.
The 15 tax officials are one principal commissioner, two commissioners, two joint commissioners, two additional commissioners, four deputy commissioners and four assistant commissioners.
“This is the fourth round of crackdown against corrupt officials in the revenue department since June this year when 12 senior CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) officials were compulsorily retired. In the last three rounds, 49 high-ranking tax officials were compulsorily retired under Fundamental Rule 56(J),” the second official said.
Rule 56(J) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, provides for a periodic review of the performance of government servants with a view to ascertain whether they should be retained in service or retired in public interest.
According to the officials, this is an ongoing campaign to purge the tax department of corrupt officials, which is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive.
“We have recently taken the bold step of compulsorily retiring a significant number of tax officials, and we will not tolerate this type of behaviour,” the first official said.
Some of the officials were forced to retire after they were caught by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while allegedly receiving bribes. One principal commissioner was found to be giving “undue relief” to a certain lawyer in an appellate order passed by him, indicating a case of quid pro quo, the first official added.
Another senior official of commissioner rank was penalized for demanding illegal gratification of ~10 lakh.