The government on June 25, 2019, dismissed from service 15 senior customs and central excise officials, including one of the ranks of the principal commissioner, on charges of corruption and bribery.
The move has increased the total number of senior tax officials who were shown the door to 27 in eight days.
Orders issued by the Finance Ministry have quoted rule 56(j) of the Fundamental Rules. Based on this rule, the President retires these officials with immediate effect.
Invoking the said rule, the government has sacked these Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) officers ranging from the ranks of Principal Commissioner to Assistant Commissioner, some of them were already under suspension, according to a Finance Ministry order.
The suspended officers either had corruption cases registered against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or were involved in bribery, extortion and disproportionate assets cases, Finance Ministry sources said.
Among those dismissed include Anup Srivastava (Principal Commissioner), who was serving as Principal ADG (Audit) in the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in Delhi, and Nalin Kumar (Joint Commissioner), the order said.
As per sources, the CBI had in 1996 registered a criminal conspiracy case against Srivastava and alleged that he had shown favours to a house building society which was trying to obtain No Objection Certificate (NOC) for land purchases in violation of law.
The CBI had booked another case against him in 2012 for allegedly demanding and accepting bribe from an importer to cover up a duty evasion case.
He also had complaints of selective arrests, harassment and extortion against him.
On the other hand, Nalin Kumar had CBI cases against him relating to allowing fraudulent drawback and disproportionate assets.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (j) of rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules, the President of India has retired 15 Officers of Indian Revenue Service (C&CE) in public interest with immediate effect on completing 50 years of age,” a Finance Ministry tweet said.
All these 15 officers shall be paid a sum equivalent to the amount of pay & allowances for a period of 3 months calculated at the same rate at which they were supposed to be withdrawing them (pay & allowances) immediately before their retirement, it added.
Sansar Chand, Commissioner in Kolkata who was allegedly involved in bribery and G. Shree Harsha, Chennai-based Commissioner who had a disproportionate asset case to the extent of Rs 2.24 crore, were also sacked.
Two commissioner rank officers — Atul Dikshit and Vinay Brij Singh– who were under suspension too have been dismissed from service. While Dikshit had disproportionate asset case and a CBI case of fraudulent drawback against him, Singh had a DRI case against him of over-invoicing.
The other customs and central excise officers who were dismissed from service include Additional Commissioner Ashok Mahida (DG Systems, Kolkata), Additional Commissioner Virendra Agarwal.
Besides, Assistant Commissioners – S.S. Pabana (under suspension), S.S. Bisht (Bhubaneshwar GST zone), Vinod Sanga (Mumbai GST zone), Raju Sekar (Vizag GST zone), Mohd Altaf (in Allahabad) — and Deputy Commissioner Ashok Aswal (Directorate of Logistics, Delhi), Amresh Jain (Delhi GST zone) too have been ‘compulsorily retired’ by the government, the order said.
(With inputs from ET)
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