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I-T wing headless since January over tussle between board members
April, 30th 2012

The Mumbai income tax investigation wing is functioning without its chief since the last three months. After B P Gaur retired as director general (investigation) on January 30, the Union government has not appointed a replacement. Officials said there has never been such a delay in the appointment.

Ujjwal Choudhary, who was recently promoted as the director general of investigation, Pune, is holding additional charge.

Sources said that four names were considered as replacement, but because of various reasons, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has not decided on Gaur's successor. One of the reasons cited is the difference between two business houses on a particular shortlisted candidate. "One group feared that the candidate would be lenient to the other, thus stalling the appointment," a senior official said. The other reason is the differences among the board members about the choice.

The officers considered are chief commissioners in Mumbai, T K Shah, Swatantra Kumar and S Ravi. Another contender was director general of investigation in Ahmedabad, A K Jain. Sources said in one of these cases, there were differences among board members. "A board member put up the name of the candidate saying it was being done at the instance of a senior government functionary. This was objected to and his candidature was dropped."

Shah was the first choice as he was part of the monitoring committee formed to strengthen anti-money laundering laws. Swantra Kumar had a long stint in investigation wing and Ravi, though never in the limelight, was also considered.

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