CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra appointed as election commissioner; second IRS officer to be given position

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra on Thursday was appointed as election commissioner. With his appointment, the EC now has Sunil Arora who was appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner on 2 December, 2018, and Ashok Lavasa and Chandra as fellow commissioners.

Income Tax Joint Commissioner Satya Pinisetty took to Twitter to announce the development:

Pinisetty also wrote that Chandra is the second IRS officer after TS Krishnamurthy to be appointed as an election commissioner. Krishnamurthy went on to become Chief Election Commissioner later on, he said.

Chandra will serve as CBDT chairman till May 2019. He was due to retire in 2017, but Chandra has since been given two extensions after taking over as the chief of the CBDT, the apex policy-making body of the Income Tax Department, on 1 November, 2016, CNBC-TV18 reported.

In 2016, Chandra became key to the demonetisation project, which was announced a week after he joined the CBDT, The Print reported.

"He was both member (investigation) and CBDT chairman at the time of demonetisation, so he played a key role during the income tax raids that followed the exercise," a senior IRS official told the news portal. "During the time, the taxes collected sky-rocketed under his supervision."

The officer also said that Chandra has been at the forefront of the government’s attempts to unearth black money, and has led efforts to make the process of investigation into tax evasion "non-intrusive."

The Print also quoted sources in the Election Commission as saying that the presence of an IRS officer among the top three poll officials would help the agency deal with issues of expenditure. "For us IRS officers, it is great to see one of our own appointed in the Election Commission, which is so crucial to the functioning of the democracy," the IRS officer He’s a soft-spoken man, but a strong administrator," the officer added.

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Updated Date: Feb 14, 2019 18:26:59 IST

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