The centre has compulsorily retired 15 senior Income Tax officials over charges of corruption and malpractices as part of an ongoing campaign to cleanse the department of tainted employees. A document released by the government said this was in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise of cracking down on certain "black sheep in the tax administration" during his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort last month.
The officials placed under compulsory retirement were identified as OP Meena, Sailendra Mamidi, PK Bajaj, Sanjeev Ghei, K Jayaprakash, Appalu Raju, Rakesh H Sharma, Nitin Garg, SA Fazululla, Kripa Sagar Das, Jose Kunjippalu, CJ Vincent, TK Bhattacharya, Kamlesh Kumar Tripathi and SR Senapati. News agency PTI stated that while many of them are being investigated by the CBI, one was even caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000.
This is the fourth instance of the Narendra Modi government sacking tax officials en masse since June. As many as 49 high-ranking tax officers, including 12 from the Central Board of Direct Taxes, were compulsorily retired in the three previous rounds.
PM Modi had announced in his Independence Day address that his government is zeroing in on tax officials who may have misused their powers or targeted honest taxpayers over minor missteps. "We are taking the bold step of compulsorily retiring a significant number of tax officials. We will not tolerate this type of behaviour," he had said.
In June, the government had compulsorily retired 15 commissioner-level officials of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on charges of corruption, collecting and giving bribes, smuggling and criminal conspiracy. Before that, the government had taken action against 12 senior Indian Revenue Service officials over charges of corruption, sexual harassment and possessing assets disproportionate to their income. In August, the government compulsorily retired 22 CBIC officials.
The Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules-1972 provides for a periodical review of the performance of government officials to ascertain whether they should be retained in service or retired in public interest.
(With inputs from PTI)