New Delhi: A decision taken by former customs' chairman Vanaja N Sarna, who was at the helm of affairs in August 2017 backed by the government's resolve to weed out deadwood, finally culminated in firing of 22 senior Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) officers under Fundamental Rule 56 (j).
The CBIC said the action on Monday was taken in the public interest due to corruption charges and a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against corrupt officers. Sarna had recommended fast-tracking of cases against 263 officers with a clear warning that action will be taken against concerned authorities if those under the scanner are allowed to retire without punitive action.
In this clean-up drive two officers KK Uikey and SR Parate from Nagpur Zone's Central Goods and Service Tax unit, have been compulsorily retired. Uikey, CBIC said, while posted as sector officer in M/s Ellora Tobacco Company Ltd, Indore during August to December, 2010 allegedly played a role of facilitating the excess unrecorded clandestine production and clearances of cigarettes.
Two show-cause notices were issued to the company demanding more than Rs 13 crore as duty. The CBIC examining the case clearly mentioned that Uikey failed to perform the duties, functions and responsibilities prescribed for government authorities and he failed to maintain absolute integrity, devotion to duty and acted in a manner unbecoming of an officer. Another officer Parate too is linked to M/s Ellora Tobacco Company Ltd and allegedly favoured the company causing losses to the government exchequer.
A total of nine officers from CGST Bhopal range has been compulsorily retired by the government. The list includes Kailash Verma, KC Mandal, MS Damor, RS Gogia, Kishore Patel, JC Solanki, SK Mandal, Govind Ram Malviya and AU Chhapargare. Chhapargare while functioning as superintendent, Customs and Excise, Malkapur range Amravati division of Wardha allegedly demanded kickbacks of Rs 25 lakh which was subsequently reduced to Rs 5 lakh to be paid in instalment for settling the alleged dues of M/s Chastity Beverages. A trap was laid by the CBI to book the officer.
Govind Ram Malviya was booked by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for facilitating importers to evade the huge amount of customs duty. The DRI had alleged proxy import of goods was allowed during the assessment to ensure less declared values causing tax loss to the government.
The seven other senior officers are charged for helping Ellora Tobacco during 2008-2010 for aiding clandestine manufacturing and clearance of cigarette manufactured by the company. The CBIC said Kailash Verma, KC Mandal, MS Damor, RS Gogia, Kishore Patel, JC Solanki and SK Mandal all were compromised and found to be indulged in corrupt practices.
S Ashokaraj of CGST Chennai Zone had carried out an unauthorised search at a cable operator in Madurai. Later he demanded a bribe to settle the case. Ashokaraj was trapped by the CBI for demanding and accepting bribe amount of Rs 75,000 from the cable operator N Murganandam 08 April 2016. During the search of his office, the CBI also recovered three envelopes containing total cash of Rs 2 lakh.
Deepak Ganeyan of CGST Bengaluru alleged to have conspired in smuggling of mobile phones and computer parts valued at Rs 44.83 lakh into India and removal of same from the Bengaluru International Airport, which was later seized by the DRI in June 2003. Ganeyan was arrested by the DRI and remained under suspension for almost 10 months.
Pramod Kumar of CGST Delhi Zone was facing charges of helping a gold smuggler Danish Feroz. The CBIC said Kumar went to Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi on 23 April 2018 to assist in Customs Clearance of a passenger Danish Feroz who had arrived from Dubai to New Delhi. Feroz was intercepted by the customs officers after he had crossed the green channel and was approaching the exit area resulting in the recovery of 10 metal bars of gold and one cut piece of gold. CBIC alleged that Kumar was supposed to receive these gold bars from the Feroz.
Two officers, Mukesh Jain and Navneet Goyal have been compulsorily retired for alleged corrupt practices. Jain was arrested on July 2010 by local anti-corruption branch for demanding and accepting a bribe from a contractor. Goyal was arrested in January 2013 by local anti-corruption branch, Kota for demanding and accepting illegal gratification from the owner of CCI Coaching Institute.
VK Singh of CGST Meerut zone was facing a serious charge of forcefully taking gold and other valuables from two jewellers. The CBIC said: “Singh visited Kanpur on 28.01.2015 without intimating to and seeking permission from the proper officer. He along with Hadis Ali, Superintendent and P.K.Tiwari, Inspector, Allahabad, was involved in snatching and looting gold and Silver valuables by applying physical force from two jewellers, who were manhandled and abducted.”
D Ashok posted at Bengaluru Custom Zone in September 2017 connived with two passengers who arrived at Kempegowda International Airport in facilitating and clearing illegally into India, their baggage containing gold concealed in it for a bribe. Ashok, CBIC said, had a shady past and he was accused of aiding another gold smuggler in lieu of kickbacks.
Leela Mohan Singh of Mumbai Custom Zone was booked by DRI for aiding Jai Ambey Impex for evasion of Anti-Dumping Duty of Rs 1.5 crore in 2012-13. CBIC said he aided and abetted attempted smuggling of one crore pieces of sewing machine needles along with other consumer goods in the name of the company. The CBI had also registered a disproportionate assets case against the officer.
VP Singh of CGST Chandigarh was trapped by the CBI for accepting a bribe from the owner of a company.
Updated Date: Aug 27, 2019 07:16:36 IST