corruption

New Delhi: The Modi governmentís crusade against corruption continues in the second term. Following action on 12 senior officials of the income tax department, the government on Tuesday forcibly retired 15 senior officers of the customs and central excise department. They include an officer of the rank of principal commissioner. All of them have been sacked on charges of corruption and bribery.

According to an order of the Ministry of Finance, the government has, under Rule 56 (J), retired officers of the Central Insider Tax and the Customs Board (CBIC) in ranks ranging from principal commissioner to assistant commissioner. Some of these had earlier been suspended.

Bribe, recovery, property more than income

Sources in the Finance Ministry said that the cases of corruption were registered against these officials by the CBI. The cases were of assets disproportionate to income, bribery and extortion.

Their termination order says that the officers who were dismissed included principal commissioner Anoop Srivastava, who was working as the central inspector general in Delhi and the post of principal ADG (audit) in the customs board. Joint commissioner Nalin Kumar has been discharged of his duties, too.

Sources said that in 1996, the CBI had filed a criminal conspiracy case against Anoop Srivastava, alleging that he had benefited from a housing society that was trying to get a NOC for the purchase of some land against the law. The CBI had registered a case against Srivastava in 2012 for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe from an importer to cover a case of tax evasion against the latter.

Complaints of harassment and extortion were also made against him.

Joint commissioner Nalin Kumar was previously suspended. The CBI had filed many cases against him including that of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. The government removed him from service on Tuesday.

In a tweet, the Finance Ministry said, ìIn exercise of the powers conferred by clause (j) of rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules, the President of India has retired 15 Officers of Indian Revenue Service (C&CE) in public interest with immediate effect on completing 50 years of age.î

ìAll these 15 Officers shall be paid a sum equivalent to the amount of pay & allowances for a period of 3 months calculated at the same rate at which they were supposed to be withdrawing them (pay & allowances) immediately before their retirement.î

ìA separate Order in each case to that effect has been issued today by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.î

According to the order, commissioner of Kolkata Sansar Chand (bribery) and commissioner in Chennai G Sri Harish (disproportionate assets) have been sacked. Besides, two Commissioner-rank officers, Atul Dikshit and Vinay Brij Singh, have been relieved from their jobs. The department had already suspended them.

Others who have been forcibly retired include Delhi GST zone deputy commissioner Amaresh Jain (disproportionate assets), two officers of the rank of additional commissioner Ashok Mahida and Virender Agrawal, assistant commissioners SS Pabana, SS Bisht, Vinod Sakar, Raju Sekar, Mohammad Altaf (Allahabad) and Delhi’s logistics directorate deputy commissioner Ashok Aswal.

A week ago, the Modi government had forcibly retired 12 senior officials of the income tax department. The officers who were involved in the action included the joint commissionerís rank. These officers had serious charges of bribery, extortion, and even sexual harassment of women officers against one.