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I-T clean up: 15 more senior tax officials axed

FE Bureau

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Friday 'compulsorily retired' 15 more senior income-tax officials under Fundamental Rule 56 (J), in line with the policy to get rid of non-performers and the corrupt. This is the fourth time this year that the government has invoked the rule. With the latest measure, a total of 64 tax officials have been put out to pasture.

Under the Rule 56 (J), the performance of an officer who has turned 50 or 55 years of age or has completed 30 years of service, whichever is earlier, is reviewed to ascertain if he/she is liable for compulsory retirement.

In the latest round, most of the officials are of the deputy, additional and joint commissioner ranks. However, two officials were serving as commissioners while one held an even more senior designation of principal commissioner, sources said.

These officials have been facing charges of corruption, harassment of taxpayers, bribery and accumulating disproportionate assets. For instance, the principal commissioner O P Meena is accused of favouring a lawyer quid pro quo when he was a commissioner of appeals in Lucknow.

Similarly, Sailendra Mamidi, a commissioner, was arrested by CBI in a a bribery case. He was also accused of soliciting favours from assessees. Another commissioner P K Bajaj too was allegedly involved in bribery and also faced accusation of irregularities in orders passed by him as commissioner of appeals. He was also found to have indulged in bigamy.

The prime minister in his recent Independence Day address said that some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers but the government won't tolerate such behaviour.

Though 56(J) has existed for several decades, it has sparingly been invoked. The first Modi government made an attempt to make use of this rule but even it could get only about 230 officers to leave government service before their scheduled superannuation on grounds of non-performance/lack of integrity.