The recent arrest of additional commissioner of income tax R K Gupta by the CBI has spread cheer among the lower ranking officials who,
otherwise are a part of a close knit community.
They are not rejoicing at the clean-up effort, a source said - the reason is an internal feud. Officers of the rank of additional commissioners, who are from the Indian Revenue Service with an experience of around 14 years, have fallen out with the juniors over an instruction issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes
(CBDT) in August 2006.
The board had directed that additional commissioners or joint commissioners, who review the assessment work of their juniors, give it in writing before calling for files of cases that are taken up for scrutiny. Sources in the department said that rarely happened - at times, it is for reasons of administrative exigencies and sometimes, seniors "knowingly call for select files''.
This issue of additional commissioners calling for files without putting it on record was also taken up in several departmental meetings but it was never resolved.
"In the department, there will be hardly 10 files, which the senior officers have called after giving it in writing,'' an income tax official said.
Gupta was arrested by the CBI for allegedly demanding bribe of Rs 10 lakh from a tax consultant on behalf of an assessee. The department also arrested a chartered accountant in connection with the case. Moreover, Rs 66 lakh was seized following a further raid at the house of Gupta's brother's friend. Gupta, who was recently released on bail, has amassed around Rs 5 crore, which is disproportionate to his income, the CBI said.
Junior-level officers told TOI that unless their seniors put their instructions in writing, they stand to face trouble in case an assessee lodges a complaint. "Review and inpsection of files are two vicious tools supposedly used for the guidance of the officer concerned but seniors often threaten us with them. We do not even have the basic infrastructure,'' an official said.
Junior officials also said Gupta was one of the "mildest'' officers who came under the CBI scanner.