The CBDT has instituted a scheme for rewarding income-tax employees for “innovative ideas” and “special efforts” in their work. However, the baffling aspect is that the CBDT has turned a blind eye to the rampant corruption being carried on under its nose. In the latest episode, four high-ranking officials, including a Principal Commissioner of Income-tax, have been caught by the CBI for alleged corruption
Dreaded Den Of Corruption
The Income-tax department has earned the notorious reputation of being a den of corruption.
We saw a few days ago that an IRS officer named B.B. Rajendra Prasad, who is presently posted as CIT(A) in Mumbai, was arrested by the CBI for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs. 2 crore for passing favourable appellate orders.
Earlier, a Principal Chief Commissioner (IRS) named Janaki Arun Kumar was arrested By the CBI for alleged corruption.
Another Chief CIT named Anil Goel was arrested for allegedly amassing a fortune of Rs. 30 crore from extortion.
M Krishnaswamy, an officer of the 1988 batch of Indian Revenue Service (IRS), who is of the rank of Commissioner of Income-tax and is presently posted as Director (Investigation), Settlement Commission, Delhi, was arrested for amassing wealth of Rs. 6 crore which was evident from the palatial bungalow that he built in Palani, Chennai.
Yet another Additional Commissioner of Income-tax named Ajay Kumar Singh became a crorepati during his reign in the department. The CBI sleuths were shocked to find a treasure trove of riches including 23 properties in Mumbai, bank accounts, share certificates, and cash.
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the CBI in flushing out the corrupt elements, there is no respite from corruption. The motivation level of the corrupt officers to indulge in the nefarious activity of extortion remains high because there are no checks and balances within the department to detect the malpractices.
Principal CIT and three officers booked by the CBI
According to the latest press release issued by the CBI read with press reports, searches were conducted on Wednesday at the premises of Tapas Kumar Dutta, the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi, Arvind Kumar, the Additional Commissioner of Income-tax, Ranjeet Kumar Lal, ITO and Ganguly, ITO.
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) July 13, 2017
The CBI has alleged that the four officials favoured five Kolkata-based businessmen, identified as Biswanath Agarwal, Santosh Chowdhury, Aakash Agarwal, Vinod Agarwal and Arvind Agarwal, and their companies, in the matter of taxes and for taking illegal gratification.
The CBI has stated that the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi, while functioning as such during the years 2016 & 2017, entered into a criminal conspiracy with Additional CIT, Ranchi, ITO (Tech.), Another Officer, Income Tax Department & five private persons, all Kolkata based businessmen & infamous entry operators and a CA of Kolkata for getting Income Tax assessment files of their different assessee companies transferred from Kolkata/ Hazaribagh to Ranchi for providing undue favour to those assesses, who have been charged with heavy tax liability, in lieu of huge bribe. It was further alleged that the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi has already issued favourable orders in the case of private companies, who already paid huge bribe, which has allegedly been stashed with a private person.
Rs. 3.5 crore in cash recovered
During the search operation, the CBI seized Rs 3.5 crore in cash, five kg gold and some incriminating documents from the premises owned by Dutta. Searches were on at several locations.
The CBI raids took place at 18 residential and office premises of the accused in Kolkata and five places in Ranchi in Jharkhand, a CBI official said.
Award by CBDT for “innovative ideas” and “special efforts”
In the midst of this dismal state of affairs, the CBDT has issued a letter dated 6th July 2017 stating that it intends to reward employees of the income-tax department who “by their innovative ideas and special efforts as well as sustained devotion and commitment to duty have contributed to promoting excellence in the field of direct taxation”.
It is not known what the parameter is for determining “innovative ideas and special efforts”.
If the making of high-pitched assessments and using high-handed measures for enforcing recovery from taxpayers is a criterion, then there will be no dearth of applicants from the income-tax department for the award.
It is high time that the CBDT stops thinking of means to “reward” the AOs but instead starts thinking of means to “punish” them for their nefarious activities!