Accountability drive: Cong asks if process exercised properly

The Congress has questioned the Narendra Modi-led government for compulsorily retiring several senior officials who were facing charges of corruption or some other wrongdoings, wondering whether the process was correctly exercised or not.

“The government has sacked several officers under Article 311 of the Constitution. Essentially the question is not whether the government has right to exercise the discretion. The question is as to whether this discretion has been correctly exercised, ” senior Congress leader Manish Tewari told IANS.

He was responding when asked for his comments on the government”s action of compulsorily retiring several officers in last few months.

“It is now evident that senior officers try to implicate Opposition leaders in false and fabricated cases to please their political masters. So when there is complete breakdown of institutional integrity there is absolutely no clarity whether this discretion has been properly exercised or not,” the Congress Lok Sabha member from Punjab said.

The BJP government at centre in last few has retired over dozens of senior officers who faced corruption charges and other CBI cases against them.

On September 27, the government retired 15 senior officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) officials who were made to compulsorily retire including the officers in the ranks of principal commissioner, commissioner, joint commissioner, additional commissioner and others.

The decision to compulsorily retire these high-ranking officers of income tax was taken under the Fundamental Rule 56 (J).

According to the government officials, the decision to compulsorily retire officers was in line with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said about corruption.

The government had earlier this year compulsorily retired 49 high-ranking tax officers, out of which 12 officers were from CBDT.

Most of these officers had corruption cases against them. Names of officers from across the country have made it to this new list. One officer was caught taking bribe of Rs 15,000, while many had assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

The September 27 list was the fourth such list of officers to be retired compulsorily this year after the BJP stormed to power for the second consecutive term.

The government released the first such list in June this year when it compulsorily retired 27 high ranking IRS officers, including 12 officers from CBDT, also on charges of corruption.

Before that, 12 IRS officers were asked to compulsorily retire and another 22 Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) officers were asked to retire in August this year.

According to the government orders, the latest batch of officers who were shown the door comprised those dealing with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Customers from across various zones in the country. The CBIC said that the tainted officers have been expelled from the service in public interest.

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