The government has sacked 22 more tax officials accused of corruption and serious irregularities in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to purge the “black sheep” in the tax department, the government announced on Monday. The finance ministry had earlier sacked 27 senior Indian Revenue Service officers including 12 from the income tax department.
“The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has compulsorily retired yet another 22 senior officers of the rank of Superintendent/Administrative Officer under Fundamental Rule 56 (J)… due to corruption and other charges and CBI traps,” the CBIC said.
The crackdown on officials facing corruption and other serious charges comes against the backdrop of a concerted effort by the government to end any possibility of tax officials issuing notices and summons to individuals and businesses on the sly to make money.
From 1 October, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced, the all notices, summons and orders by the income-tax authorities will be issued through a centralised computer system and will contain a computer-generated unique Document Identification Number.
“Any communication issued without computer-generated DIN shall be non est in law”, she told a news conference last week. If the tax department doesn’t decide a case within three months of a company’s response, the tax notice shall lapse.
Many of the indirect taxes and customs department officials compulsorily retired in the latest string of orders had been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the past. Some others had faced inquiries for irregularities, cases for disproportionate assets or collusion.
Like 9 of the 22 officials sacked on Monday from Bhopal were facing accusations that they colluded with a cigarette manufacturer to facilitate excess unrecorded clandestine production and clearances of cigarettes.
Another officer from Bengaluru faces charges of conspiracy to smuggle mobile phones and computer parts into India and removing them from the Bengaluru international airport when these were seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence way back in 2003.
In another case from Delhi, a tax official working at the GST office in Delhi was caught last year when he was trying to help a person smuggle 10 bars of gold weighing 1,200 gm from Dubai. He was caught by customs officials.