CBDT sacks another 15 high-ranking tax officials as Narendra Modi govt continues crackdown on corruption

The CBDT said action against senior tax officials is in line with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation

Yatish Yadav September 28, 2019 12:34:22 IST
CBDT sacks another 15 high-ranking tax officials as Narendra Modi govt continues crackdown on corruption
  • In a bid to clean up the bureaucracy, the Centre has sacked 15 very senior officers facing corruption charges

  • So far, the government has sacked 64 high ranking tax offices, including 12 officers from Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)

  • The CBDT said action against senior tax officials is in line with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation

New Delhi: In a bid to clean up the bureaucracy, the Centre has sacked 15 very senior Income Tax officers facing corruption charges. These officers are at the rank of Principal Commissioner of Income Tax (Pr. CIT), Commissioner of Income Tax (CIT) and Joint Commissioner of Income Tax (JCIT). So far, the government has sacked 64 high ranking tax offices, including 12 officers from Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) who were compulsorily retired under Fundamental Rule 56(J).

CBDT sacks another 15 highranking tax officials as Narendra Modi govt continues crackdown on corruption

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

The officers sacked by the government on Friday includes OP Meena, Pr.CIT. The CBDT said action against Meena is being taken due to serious doubts on the integrity of the officer. The CBDT documents said Meena, serving as CIT (Appeals) in September 2014, dealt with the case of advocate Prashant Chandra, who is also representing Meena in a case before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Lucknow bench.

“OP Meena decided the appellate matter pending before him in spite of clear conflict of interest raising serious doubts on the integrity of the officer. Undue reliefs have allegedly been given to Prashant Chandra, Advocate in the appellate order passed by OP Meena indicating a case of quid pro quo,” CBDT said.

Another officer Sailendra Mamidi, CIT, Chennai is facing probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a corruption case. Mamidi was arrested by the CBI and the alleged bribe recovered from his associate. He was placed under suspension in 2015 following his arrest by CBI. CBDT has alleged that Mamidi demanded and received illegal gratification in case of another Kottayam jeweller following an Income Tax survey.

“He had been habitually availing hospitality of a taxpayer in his jurisdiction by staying at his luxury resort at Kumarakom. He had stayed at Hotel Leela Palace, Kovalam and the payment was made by a subordinate officer. He had also purchased an iPad through S Sarath, Income Tax officer, and did not make any payment for the same. His prosecution was sanctioned on 2 May, 2018, and a departmental chargesheet was issued to the officer in October,” CBDT documents said.

The CBDT in another case has received complaints against PK Bajaj, CIT alleging that he demanded bribe for registration of trust u/s 12AA and 80G of Income Tax Act. He is also facing charges of bigamy. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Lucknow bench, conveyed its observation of concern in respect of quality of orders passed by Bajaj.

A vigilance inspection related to his work as CIT (Exemption), Lucknow was also carried out in 2017 and a large number of irregularities were noticed in the vigilance inspection. Although the Vigilance Inspection was challenged by Bajaj before CAT, Lucknow bench and the vigilance inspection proceedings were quashed, the CBDT department is in the process of challenging the said order.

“The name of the officer (Bajaj) was included in the Agreed List for the year 2018 jointly by the department and the CBI. Although inclusion of his name in the Agreed List was quashed by CAT, Lucknow bench. He appeared in person in a large number of legal proceedings before CAT, Lucknow bench and Allahabad High Court, Lucknow bench on various dates without seeking any kind of leave.

Bajaj allegedly purchased a flat in Ashok Vihar, Delhi and handed over the same to his estranged wife by way of alimony without furnishing any intimation as required by Conduct Rules. Bajaj had allegedly married one Ms Renu and then Ms Rakhi without any judicial separation/divorce from Ms. Sapna, thereby committing bigamy,” CBDT alleged.

Another senior officer Sanjeev Ghei, JCIT, allegedly demanded a bribe from a taxpayer for passing a favourable assessment order. He was apprehended by CBI and the bribe money of Rs 3.50 lakh was allegedly recovered from his office drawer. Ghei was allegedly found using services of Bhavesh, a chartered accountant, for receiving the bribe from the taxpayer.

Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, K Jayaprakash, who was sacked by the CBDT was allegedly involved in corruption while serving in Karimnagar. He was apprehended by CBI and Rs 24.60 lakh out of the total bribe money of Rs. 25 lakh were recovered from staff associated with Jayaprakash. He was allegedly found using services of N Shivakumar, auditor, for receiving the bribe money.

Another Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, V Appala Raju, allegedly acquired disproportionate assets — Rs 60 lakh more than his known sources of income — in his own name and in the name of his family,  He neither obtained any prior permission regarding transactions of movable and immovable  properties entered into by him nor he furnished intimations regarding these transactions in violation of provisions of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Another senior Income Tax officer, Rakesh H Sharma while serving in Ahmedabad, allegedly demanded a bribe from a taxpayer to settle the Income Tax Assessment of a relative of the complainant. He was apprehended by the Anti-Corruption Branch, Ahmedabad, while accepting the bribe money of Rs 15,000.

Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Nitin Garg, issued a notice to the complainant and allegedly demanded a bribe for not imposing heavy penalties while serving in Sirsa, Haryana. The complainant recorded the conversation with Garg wherein he allegedly demanded a bribe and directed the complainant to handover the bribe to Prince Kumar, an employee of his son.

“Hand wash of Prince Kumar with sodium carbonate solution had turned pink indicating that he had accepted phenolphthalein treated currency notes. The Call Data Records of Nitin Garg and the complainant corroborate the allegations of demand and acceptance of bribe,” CBDT said.

The CBDT has taken action against another Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, SA Fazululla, facing the CBI probe. The CBI special unit Chennai was monitoring telephone calls of Fazululla and P Musalaiah, a chartered accountant. The calls between Fazululla, P Musalaiah, and Dr K Upendra Kumar, the assessee, established that the three of them had entered into a conspiracy to settle a case by paying kickbacks.

The CBI team gathered that a sum of Rs 3 lakh which would be handed over to Fazululla on 7 July, 2014. The CBI team conducted a search  on the same day in the office chamber of Fazululla and recovered the bribe amount of Rs 3 lakh from the table drawer of Fazululla, who allegedly finalised the favorable assessment order.

Another senior officer, Kripa Sagar Das, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, allegedly passed two sets of assessment orders, both dated 12 December, 2007, and subsequently in the Demand & Collection Register, the original entry was erased with white fluid and substituted by the revised entry corresponding to total income of Rs 59 lakh.

Overwriting in Demand & Collection register indicates that after the original assessment order was passed, another assessment order on the same date was passed with new lower total income and lower demand for malafide reasons. Das finalised the penalty of Rs 1.57 lakh with the approval of his superior and later allegedly directed his staff to alter the entry in the Demand & Collection register in illegal manner to extend undue benefit to the private party. The CBDT said Das allegedly acquired assets in his own name and in the name of his family members, which are disproportionate to his known legal sources of income.

Another senior officer P Jose Kunjippalu, ACIT, along with officer CJ Vincent, conspired to settle a case related to M/s. Canon Granites Pvt. Ltd. for Assessment Year 2011-12.

“Vincent entered into a criminal conspiracy with P Jose Kunjippalu and KJ Tomy, a chartered accountant and demanded a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from the directors of the said company. The complainant had secretly video recorded the conversation with Kunjippalu and KJ Tomy, chartered accountant wherein they had demanded the bribe. Kunjippalu directed the complainant to bring the bribe to the residential quarters of Vincent where he himself was also staying [sic]. Kunjippalu accepted the bag containing the bribe from the complainant and handed it over to Vincent after verifying the money. Vincent also verified the money and kept the bag on the shelf. The bag was thrown out from the balcony by Kunjippalu as soon as he realised that a CBI team had entered the flat. The hand wash of Vincent as well as Kunjippalu turned pink indicating that both of them had handled treated currency notes,” the CBDT said.

Kunjippalu also accepted two gold coins from a chartered accountant with whom he was having official dealings in violation of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964. He allegedly acquired assets in his own name and in the name of his family members, disproportionate to his known legal sources of income. The CBDT has also sacked CJ Vincent, ACIT, for setting the case in lieu of kickback.

Another Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, TK Bhattacharya has also been sacked in alleged corruption case. The CBDT said, Income Tax Department had carried out search and seizure operations at various premises of M/s. Oasis Group of companies. The Income Tax Returns of directors of the company and their family members for past 7 years were transferred to Income Tax Department, Ludhiana, for re-assessment.

TK Bhattacharya, while in charge officer in Ludhiana, allegedly called the complainant on phone and informed that he and his family were likely to face heavy tax penalty and demanded a bribe of Rs 10 lakh for reducing the penalty. Tax demand of approximately Rs 35 lakh was raised by Bhattacharya vide orders dated 21 March, 2013, in the case of the complainant and his family members.

The complainant again met Bhattacharya and after negotiation, allegedly reduced the bribe demand to Rs 6 lakh. Bhattacharya was also allegedly found using services of Ashwani Kumar Gupta, a chartered accountant, for receiving the bribe. He was apprehended by CBI and the bribe of Rs 6 lakhs was recovered from Gupta.

Kamlesh Kumar Tripathi, JCIT, was nabbed by the CBI. He allegedly threatened a complainant and demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh for approving the proposal sent by the assessment officer to settle the case. The complainant was directed by Manish Kumar, a chartered accountant, to deliver the bribe money in the lobby of ITC Sonar Bangla Hotel.

Later, the complainant was advised by Kumar to speak with Tripathi, who in turn allegedly directed the complainant to hand over the bribe  at his official residence. During the course of search operations by the CBI, the bribe of Rs 5 lakh was recovered from Tripathi's official residence. Hand wash of Kumar and Tripathi turned pink, indicating that they accepted treated currency notes.

SR Senapati, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, allegedly endorsed an illegal survey against M/s. ARSS Stones Pvt. Limited in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, even when the case was not within his jurisdiction. Senapati allegedly wrote a letter to the then CIT, Bhubaneswar, and misled him by indicating that the documents impounded during the said survey were being scrutinised by the officers concerned, whereas the impounded documents had already been returned to the assessee on 30 July, 2002.

The CBDT said action against senior tax officials is in line with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation: that some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers and harassed taxpayers, either by targeting honest assesses or by taking excessive action for minor or procedural violations.

“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,” Modi said.

Updated Date:

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