The Modi Government has compulsorily retired almost a dozen senior tax officers on charges ranging from extortion, bribe, and sexual harassment.
This includes about 12 senior officers of the rank of Chief Commissioners, Principal Commissioners and Commissioners of Income Tax (I-T) Department under FR (fundamental rule) 56 (j) of Central Civil Services (pension) Rules. The names include Ashok Agarwal, Joint Commissioner of I-T and former Deputy Director of Enforcement Directorate, S.K. Srivastava, Commissioner (appeal, Noida), Homi Rajvansh, IRS (1985 batch), A.B.B. Rajendra Prasad, Ajoy Kumar Singh, A.B. Arulappa, Alok Kumar Mitra, Chander Saini Bharti, Andasu Ravinder, Swetabh Suman, Ram Kumar Bhargava and Vivek Batra.
This is a major crackdown by the Narendra Modi-led government on bureaucrats and officials indulging in alleged corrupt practices. As per sources, the finance ministry has invoked Rule 56J of the “fundamental rules" against the officers, citing "public interest.”
The cleanup is a first step to send a message that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. Sources add the axe is also likely to fall on more such officers who have been under observation because of dubious records. While the retired officers will be given pay and allowances, however, they will not be entitled to pension benefits.
The move is reminiscent of a similar one three years ago when three senior tax officials were let go using the same provisions of compulsory retirement.