New Delhi: The government has compulsorily retired almost a dozen senior tax officers on charges ranging from extortion, bribe and sexual harassment.
The axe has fallen on about 12 senior officers of the rank of chief commissioners, principal commissioners, commissioners of income tax department under rule FR (fundamental rule) 56 (j) of central civil services (pension) rules.
The officers include Ashok Agarwal, joint commissioner of Income Tax and former deputy director, ED; S.K. Srivastava, commissioner (Appeal, NOIDA; Homi Rajvansh, IRS 1985 batch; B.B. Rajendra Prasad; Ajoy Kumar Singh; B. Arulappa; Alok Kumar Mitra; Chander Saini Bharti; Andasu Ravinder; Vivek Batra; Swetabh Suman and Ram Kumar Bhargava.
This is major crackdown by Modi government 2.0 on bureaucrats and officials indulging in alleged corruption practices.
Among the key tax officials shown the door is Ashok Agarwal who has remained suspended from 1999 to 2014. He faced serious allegations of corruption and extortion from businessman accused of helping late ‘godman’ Chandraswami. Agarwal was found to have acquired ill-gotten wealth to the tune of Rs 12 crore and faced a CBI enquiry.
The 1989-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer has also been retired prematurely as he faced charges of alleged sexual harassment.
Some of the tax officers forced to exit the service acquired movable and immovable properties without obtaining required approvals.
One of the disgraced officer Homi Rajvansh had illegal acquired assets worth Rs 3.17 crore. Finance Ministry sources said Rajvansh was arrested by CBI after absconding from his headquarters to evade arrest.
Another officer B.B. Rajendra Prasad was arrested by the CBI on allegations of passing favourable order for illegal gratifications while S.K. Srivastava, Commissioner (Appeal), NOIDA is accused of sexual harassment to two women IRS officers of Commissioner rank.
In the case of Ajoy Kumar Singh, sources said that CBI, ACB, Mumbai, had registered a disproportionate assets case when Singh was Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai. He was also arrested by the CBI in connection with the case and placed under suspension w.e.f. 25.10.2009.
Officers have also been compulsorily retired for incompetence as in the case of B Arulappa. He allegedly proved to be ineffective as a supervisory officer and failed to ensure assignment of important cases having large tax implication to senior and experienced officers. But, ministry sources said that Alok Kumar Mitra is allegedly involved in many cases of corruptions and extortion and passed many wrong and malafide assessment orders which were later on reversed by the appellate authorities.
On the other hand, Chander Saini Bharti was apprehended by CBI in connection with a trap case and the bribe money of Rs 30 lakh was recovered from ‘angadiya’ (courier) used by him. He was allegedly found using hawala channels for transferring the ill-gotten money.
Swetabh Suman was arrested by CBI in New Delhi on April 13, 2018 for allegedly demanding Rs 50 lakh for giving relief in a shell company matter to a businessman. The amount was recovered from a middle-man and searches were carried out by CBI on the premises linked to Shri Swetabh Suman in Guwahati, Jorhat, Shillong, Noida and Delhi.