With some top officials being accused of indulging in corruption, FM Pranab Mukherjee has selected two officers of the revenue services with a `no nonsense’ approach to head the two revenue boards that control the country’s top revenue agencies.
The two important revenue offices — Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) — control the Income Tax investigation , Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), all Customs , excise and service tax intelligence agencies and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.
The Enforcement Directorate, which directly reports to the revenue secretary and the FM, is the only agency that does not fall under the purview of these boards. Sumit Dutt Majumder, former DRI director-general and currently member, excise , in CBEC, has been selected as acting chairman of CBEC and will take over from incumbent V Sridhar from next month when the latter retires. Sudhir Chandra , presently member, investigation , in CBDT, has been selected to take over as the next chairman of CBDT in December end when SSN Moorthy retires.
The FM has signed the files clearing these two appointments and sent them to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for approval.
He has also directed the revenue secretary to take up the implementation of the Mankad committee recommendations with the Department of Personnel so that the two officers who have less than one year service left are appointed to the top posts, sources said.
The current rule provides for selection of the senior most member of the revenue board to the post of chairman if he has one-year service left. While Majumder has 11 months remaining , Chandra will have three months’ service left after the current chairman retires.
The finance ministry had appointed the Mankad committee last year to review this rule and one of its recommendation was the appointment of the senior most member from the revenue board as chairman and giving him a fixed one-year tenure. The recommendations were cleared by the FM some time ago.
I-T investigation is handling some of the most politically sensitive cases. Some of these relate to the Reddy brothers from Bellary , former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda, politicians linked to IPL franchisees, besides disproportionate assets of many senior present and former bureaucrats.
DRI too had been closely tracking some of the big industrial groups for alleged tax evasion and smuggling activities. Several cases of cheating the exchequer of thousands of crores are pending in litigations