The Centre today sacked 15 income tax officials for corruption and other charges in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to go after the “black sheep” in the tax department.
This decision is the finance ministry’s fourth round cleansing the system to boot out officials either accused of corruption or facing other serious charges. In the last three rounds, 49 high-ranking tax officers including 12 officers from the Central Board of Direct Taxes were compulsorily retired under the Fundamental Rule that empowers the government to evict non-performers from the government.
The clean-up drive began on June 10 with the dismissal of a dozen tainted high-ranking income-tax officers. In the next round of the clean-up exercise a week later, the government forced out 15 indirect tax officials. The third round was in August when 22 more officials were given pink slips.
Apart from income tax officials who demanded and accepted bribes, Friday’s list includes a Principal Commissioner of Income Tax who decided a tax appeal filed by a lawyer. It turned out later that the lawyer had represented the I-T commissioner in a personal case at the central administrative tribunal and the two go back a long way.
In another case, a tax official who issued notice to a businessman and then allegedly demanded bribes not to impose heavy penalties was also in Friday’s list. The complainant in this case had recorded his conversations with the tax official.
Another tax official to lose his job faced accusations that he had passed two sets of assessment orders, both of the saame date. He got one set approved by his boss to impose a penalty of Rs 1.5 crore but later, substituted it with another one where a lesser fine of Rs 59 lakh was imposed.