NEW DELHI: Twelve officials of the Union Ministry of Finance have been forced into compulsory retirement — the allegations against them range from extortion to bribery and sexual harassment, a circular from the government read. Eight of them are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation on serious corruption charges.
This is the first time the government is taking such a move against so many officials accused of corruption and malpractice.
The 12, all from the Indian Revenue Services (IRS), included seven commissioners – one of the top most ranks in the Income Tax department; one joint commissioner, three additional commissioners, and an assistant commissioner.
“This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion, ‘na khaunga na khane dunga’ [will neither steal, nor allow anyone else to] and a strong message has been sent in the system to shun corrupt practices at all levels immediately,” said a government official aware of the specifics of the crackdown, asking not to be named.
The orders were issued against: joint commissioner of income-tax Ashok Kumar Aggarwal (civil code 85042), commissioner Sanjay Kumar Srivastava (87052), commissioner Alok Kumar Mitra (92030), commissioner Arulappa B (90116), commissioner Ajoy Kumar Singh (87067), commissioner BB Rajendra Prasad (92092), commissioner Homi Rajvansh (85043), commissioner Swetabh Suman (88078), additional commissioner Andasu Ravindar (91110), additional commissioner Vivek Batra (92075), additional commissioner Chander Sain Bharti (94086) and assistant commissioner Ram Kumar Bhargava (145FF),
Ashok Agarwal, Joint Commissioner of I-T and former Deputy Director of Enforcement Directorate, had been suspended from 1999 to 2014. The official faced allegations of corruption and extortion from businessmen accused of helping Chandraswami, the hugely controversial self-proclaimed godman who the Central Bureau of Investigation accused of having assets worth more than 12 crore disproportionate to his income.
SK Srivastava, a Revenue Service official of the 1989 batch, was accused of sexually harassing two women officials.
He allegedly accused them of corruption and prostitution and evasion of taxes and had a petition filed through a former Member of Parliament, Jai Narayan Nishad.