Revenue Transperancy Times
International Standard Serial Number: 2348 – 2958

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15th september 2015
Centre says rotate govt employees for integrity, compulsorily retire if in public interest
Centre says rotate govt employees for integrity, compulsorily retire if in public interest New Delhi: The central government has emphasised on rotation of government employees on sensitive and non-sensitive posts "to ensure integrity" in the government service and has also asked all ministries to strictly follow existing rules of compulsorily retiring government employeess before 60 years of age if "in public interest". The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said in the circular F.No.C-11020/1/2015-Vig issued to all central ministries and departments on Monday, incorporating the observations of cabinet Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha at a meeting on August 10. "it has been emphasized that rotation needs to be carried out in respect of sensitive posts and non-sensitive posts to ensure probity," the circular of DoPT said. It also suggested review and screening of officers under FR 56(J) within ministries. Under FR 56(J) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, periodical review of officers is permitted for strengthening of administration. DoPT will monitor the implementation and obtain compliance from all ministries in this regard, the circular said. "All ministries/departments are, therefore, requested to kindly look into the matter and carry out rotation in respect of sensitive and non-sensitive posts and FR 56(J). As this activity is to be completed in a time bound manner, it is requested that priority attention may be paid to it and inputs sent to the internal Vigilance Section at the very earliest,'' according to the circular. FR 56 (J) of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, says, the government has the absolute right to retire, if it is necessary to do so in public interest, a government servant of group 'A' and 'B' who entered service before 35 years of age and have attained the age of 50 years. In other cases, the age-limit is of 55 years when the government servant can be compulsorily retired. A three-month notice period or three month pay in lieu of it is supposed to be given. TST

14th september 2015
Seventh Pay Commission to propose higher HRA
Seventh Pay Commission to propose higher HRA The Seventh Pay Commission is likely to propose to increase House Rent Allowance (HRA) of central government employees, besides their basic salaries. By giving House Rent Allowance hikes, the Pay Commission is likely to seek to encourage property owners to rent out their properties, reduce the shortage of dwellings and to provide ‘housing for all central government employees’. Besides the basic salary, a large portion of central government employees’ salary is the House Rent Allowance; some changes will be made in that category this time. Instead of the existing three areas for house rent, four are likely to be created. ‘X’ class cities Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, where employees will get 40 percent of their basic salary as House Rent Allowance (HRA), increasing from the existing 30 percent. Employees posted at ‘Y’ class cities covers near about 90 stations, will receive 30 percent of basic salary, instead of the existing 20 percent. A new area will be opened for the district towns; the central government employees will get 20 percent of their basic salary as House Rent Allowance (HRA) there. In other areas, the house rent allowance will be 10 percent of basic, which is the existing rate of House Rent Allowance (HRA) of ‘Z’ class cities. The existing qualifying threshold of population for HRA classification is 50 lakh and above for X, 5-50 lakh for Y and below 5 lakh for Z class cities. However, the central government's salary bill will rise by 9.56% to Rs 1,00,619 crore with the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, according to a statement tabled in Parliament by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on August 12. TST

14th september 2015
Seventh Pay Commission to propose higher HRA
Seventh Pay Commission to propose higher HRA The Seventh Pay Commission is likely to propose to increase House Rent Allowance (HRA) of central government employees, besides their basic salaries. By giving House Rent Allowance hikes, the Pay Commission is likely to seek to encourage property owners to rent out their properties, reduce the shortage of dwellings and to provide ‘housing for all central government employees’. Besides the basic salary, a large portion of central government employees’ salary is the House Rent Allowance; some changes will be made in that category this time. Instead of the existing three areas for house rent, four are likely to be created. ‘X’ class cities Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, where employees will get 40 percent of their basic salary as House Rent Allowance (HRA), increasing from the existing 30 percent. Employees posted at ‘Y’ class cities covers near about 90 stations, will receive 30 percent of basic salary, instead of the existing 20 percent. A new area will be opened for the district towns; the central government employees will get 20 percent of their basic salary as House Rent Allowance (HRA) there. In other areas, the house rent allowance will be 10 percent of basic, which is the existing rate of House Rent Allowance (HRA) of ‘Z’ class cities. The existing qualifying threshold of population for HRA classification is 50 lakh and above for X, 5-50 lakh for Y and below 5 lakh for Z class cities. However, the central government's salary bill will rise by 9.56% to Rs 1,00,619 crore with the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, according to a statement tabled in Parliament by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on August 12. TST

14th september 2015
Seventh Pay Commission to propose higher HRA
Seventh Pay Commission to propose higher HRA The Seventh Pay Commission is likely to propose to increase House Rent Allowance (HRA) of central government employees, besides their basic salaries. By giving House Rent Allowance hikes, the Pay Commission is likely to seek to encourage property owners to rent out their properties, reduce the shortage of dwellings and to provide ‘housing for all central government employees’. Besides the basic salary, a large portion of central government employees’ salary is the House Rent Allowance; some changes will be made in that category this time. Instead of the existing three areas for house rent, four are likely to be created. ‘X’ class cities Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, where employees will get 40 percent of their basic salary as House Rent Allowance (HRA), increasing from the existing 30 percent. Employees posted at ‘Y’ class cities covers near about 90 stations, will receive 30 percent of basic salary, instead of the existing 20 percent. A new area will be opened for the district towns; the central government employees will get 20 percent of their basic salary as House Rent Allowance (HRA) there. In other areas, the house rent allowance will be 10 percent of basic, which is the existing rate of House Rent Allowance (HRA) of ‘Z’ class cities. The existing qualifying threshold of population for HRA classification is 50 lakh and above for X, 5-50 lakh for Y and below 5 lakh for Z class cities. However, the central government's salary bill will rise by 9.56% to Rs 1,00,619 crore with the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, according to a statement tabled in Parliament by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on August 12. TST

28th August 2015
IRS officer Shrawan Lal Meena dies of cancer
IRS officer Shrawan Lal Meena dies of cancer Shrawan Lal Meena, a senior IRS officer and Principal Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise, Jaipur, passed away here on Thursday after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 58. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. An IRS officer from the 1985 batch, Meena started his career as an Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise under Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and held various positions in CBEC including Additional Director General of Valuation in Mumbai. He was known as an honest and forthright government servant who expected the best from those who worked with his. CBEC Chairman Najib Shah on Thursday condoled the death of Meena. "CBEC condoles the untimely demise of Shri Shrawan Lal Meena, IRS, 1985 Batch, Principal Commissioner, Jaipur," a screenshot of a message of condolence shows on the CBEC website. "He was of the rarest breed of sincere, honest and efficient revenue officers, diligent at solving cases with a humane approach," said a customs and central excise official in Jaipur. Meena was born on January 03, 1957 at a village in Jajpur district of Rajasthan. A post graduate in Arts, Meena had earlier joined Indian Police Service and worked as IPS officer. A large number of customs and central excise officials from every parts of the country visited Jaipur and paid homage to him. Later, her body was taken to native and final rites were performed. Source: TST

24th august 2015
salaried persons can file I-T returns till March 2016
salaried persons can file I-T returns till March 2016 A salaried person who can’t file his ITR for financial year 2014-15 by 31 August 2015 can file it by 31 March 2016, without attracting penalty for late filing. This year, the deadline to file income tax returns (ITR) has been extended to 31 August from 31 July. According to income tax rules, individual has to file his income tax return (ITR) for any financial year, before 31 July (31 August for financial year 2014-15) of the subsequent year. As usual, there are many salaried persons who can't meet the deadline this year, too. Of course, they also list the usual reasons for not filing returns on time: some can't login to the Income-Tax portal; some has not received the Form 16; some are too busy with their career and life to notice the deadline. "A lot of salaried persons have not received their Form 16 this year. The delay in issuance of Form 16 on the part of us was primarily because of changes in the process relating to preparation of the Form 16," a DDO of a government office said. If salaried person has a source of income apart from salary, such as income from fixed deposit interest, capital gains or rental income, and if the tax liability is more than Rs.10,000, then he should has paid advance tax by 31 March 2015. If he has not done this, then he has to pay the self-assessment tax and file the ITR by 31 August 2015. If the net advance tax due is more than Rs.10,000 other than TDS, and salaried persons do not pay this on time, a penalty of 1% (simple interest) every month of the tax amount will be levied, under sections 234(B) and (C) of the Income-tax Act, 1961. The interest will be calculated till the end of the month in which he pays the tax. However, no penalty will be levied if he files return by 31 March 2016. He can even file tax return by 31 March 2017. But the assessing officer can levy a penalty of Rs.5,000 under section 271F for not filing the return on time. TST

19th august 2015
Mumbai Police summons DRI official over customs official’s suicide
Mumbai Police summons DRI official over customs official’s suicide The Mumbai Police Tuesday summoned a senior official from the DRI for inquiry into the alleged suicide of Customs official. The deceased customs Appraiser, Rishi Ranjan's mutilated body had been found near Khandeshwar railway tracks on Saturday morning. The family suspects Ranjan was “killed” and did not commit suicide. Sources in the Mumbai Police said that the senior DRI official is understood to have claimed that Ranjan was held responsible in the cigarette smuggling case based on the statement made to DRI by the other accused arrested in the case. The accused had alleged that the Customs appraiser was working along with them on the Rs 4.24 crore heist. Incidentally, the JNPT Customs official, who had been questioned on Monday, is understood to have told the Mumbai railway police that departmental action was taken against Ranjan and he had been suspended on July 29 based on the report submitted by the DRI. The Mumbai railway police said they are cross-verifying the statements of the officials from Customs and the DRI and on Wednesday they will summon another senior DRI official for his statement. Relatives of the deceased will be called later for their statements as they are in mourning at present. Source: TST

19th august 2015
Will the CBEC correct this anaomoly?
Will the CBEC correct this anaomoly? Somesh Arora [Chief Consultant (Amicus Rarus) and Former Commissioner of Customs & Excise] The Section 78 of Finance Act,1994, as amended by the Finance Act, 2015 has brought certain amendments and also similar provisioning in corresponding sections of the Customs Act,62 and the Central Excise act,1944. The purpose of these amendments is to provide amnesty through a lesser penalty in case a person pays duty with in a stipulated period of 30 days from the issuance of the SCN, which shall then be 15 percent of the duty. However as the following provision will indicate( so shall its predecessor version prior to Finance Act,2015), there is ambiguity in its language which is causing the officers of the department to interpret it the way it suits them though the interpretation may have some support from the text but it totally bereft of logic. SECTION 78. Penalty for failure to pay service tax for reasons of fraud, etc. (1) Where any service tax has not been levied or paid, or has been short-levied or short-paid, or erroneously refunded, by reason of fraud or collusion or wilful mis-statement or suppression of facts or contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter or of the rules made thereunder with the intent to evade payment of service tax, the person who has been served notice under the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 73 shall, in addition to the service tax and interest specified in the notice, be also liable to pay a penalty which shall be equal to hundred per cent. of the amount of such service tax: Provided that in respect of the cases where the details relating to such transactions are recorded in the specified records for the period beginning with the 8th April, 2011 upto the date on which the Finance Bill, 2015 receives the assent of the President (both days inclusive), the penalty shall be fifty per cent. of the service tax so determined: Provided further that where service tax and interest is paid within a period of thirty days of - (i) the date of service of notice under the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 73, the penalty payable shall be fifteen per cent. of such service tax and proceedings in respect of such service tax, interest and penalty shall be deemed to be concluded; (ii) the date of receipt of the order of the Central Excise Officer determining the amount of service tax under sub-section (2) of section 73, the penalty payable shall be twenty-five per cent. of the service tax so determined: Provided also that the benefit of reduced penalty under the second proviso shall be available only if the amount of such reduced penalty is also paid within such period: Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, "specified records" means records including computerised data as are required to be maintained by an assessee in accordance with any law for the time being in force or where there is no such requirement, the invoices recorded by the assessee in the books of accounts shall be considered as the specified records. …….. ……. ….. The problem in relation to implementation of above Section arises as number of field authorities especially the newly formed Audit Commissionerates are interpreting the above clause(1) to the Section 78 in a manner that if you pay duty before SCN or with in 30 days of issuance of the same with interest, you will still not be allowed to get the benefit of reduced penalty in case transactions were found recorded in your books of accounts. The result is that whereas Ist proviso was brought in as it was considered a lesser offence if transactions in relation to which suppression etc. is alleged are still recorded in books of accounts, as Department at least can have a chance to find them out during periodic audits, but now the reflecting of the same in books of accounts will land you up in a soup as you will still have to pay 50% of the duty as penalty whereas the one not even reflecting any thing in the books of accounts will have to pay 15% or 25% of the duty only as penalty in case of payment of duty and interest with in stipulated period. This is so because the Department from the language of third provisio is drawing an interpretation that same is applicable only in relation to proviso 2 and not to proviso 1 and therefore paying duty prior to or with in 30 days of the issuance of SCN is of no avail to those who are covered under provisio 1. The net effect is that you will be better off in case you commit a bigger offence of concealment and shall be worse off if the same is done by showing the entries in books because in the former situation you can get away by paying 15% penalty( subject to conditions) but in later case it will not be any thing less than 50%( even if you pay duty and interest at the earliest). This even though the prudence demands that in the later case penalty should be 7.5% or 12.5% of the duty if disclosures are found in the books of accounts but are not otherwise available to department through returns or any other communication. That there is ambiguity in the text and the reasonable and good intentions of the policy makers are not properly getting reflected in the language of the provision is quite obvious. The fault therefore may be less of the field officers who are going by the text and acting accordingly in issuing the SCN, except that a reference could be made to CBEC by them to avoid frivolous litigation. A trend- which needs to be encouraged by the department so that situations are remedied, at the earliest without any avoidable litigation. However for CBEC at this stage two options are available- either to suitably amend provision to make the same rational and reasonable in next budget or through an executive fiat issue instructions to clarify the matter and to place a reasonable interpretation on the provision. Hope there will be reaction in reasonable time. Source: TST

15th August 2015
CBI arrests Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit in graft case
CBI arrests Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit in graft case CBI arrests Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit, then Deputy Commissioner Nalin Kumar and businessman Sahdev Gupta here in alleged graft case of Rs 74 crore. CBI today arrested Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit, Deputy Commissioner Nalin Kumar and businessman Sahdev Gupta in alleged graft case of Rs 74.6 crore arising out of allegedly dubious remittances of Rs 8,000 crore. CBI sources said Dixit, Kumar and Gupta were arrested late this evening after questioning during the day. The case relates to alleged fraudulent exports worth Rs 8,000 crore, using inflated price tags, by Gupta in 2013-14 to companies based in Hong Kong and Dubai, CBI sources said. They said the case was probed by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. It is alleged that garments purportedly exported were over invoiced to claim inflated duty draw back, the sources said. DRI during its probe allegedly found that companies to whom the exports were claimed to have been made denied giving any such orders whereas Rs 8,000 crore were received by Gupta in his accounts, they said. Based on its investigation, DRI allegedly asked Atul Dixit, a 1988-batch officer, and Nalin Kumar to block duty draw back claim of Rs 300 crore presumably made by Gupta, the sources said. "It is further alleged that in order to favour the private person, the said public servants deliberately did not suspend the duty drawback of the firms immediately and ensured that the amounts claimed by the firms as duty drawback are transferred to their bank accounts," CBI spokesperson said. She said the act of the public servants allegedly resulted into a wrongful revenue loss of Rs.74.61 crores (approx) to the government and corresponding gain to the private parties. They said the agency is probing alleged quid pro quo between Gupta and the Customs officers who did not act on the recommendations of DRI. The sources said the searches were carried out at seven places here and one each in Gurgaon and Greater Noida at the premises of Dixit, Kumar and Gupta during which the agency recovered cash of Rs 85 lakh from the lockers of Kumar and property documents worth crores from Dixit's lockers. Source: TST

14th August 2015
CBI finds Rs 85 lakh cash in locker of former Tughlakabad govt official
CBI finds Rs 85 lakh cash in locker of former Tughlakabad govt official CBI officials also recovered jewellery and documents of three properties that belong to Atul Dixit, commissioner of customs, ICD, Tughlakabad, from a locker in Delhi. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found Rs 85 lakh in cash in a locker belonging to Nalin Kumar, former deputy commissioner of inland container depot (ICD), Tughlakabad, sources said. CBI officials also recovered jewellery and documents of three properties that belong to Atul Dixit, commissioner of customs, ICD, Tughlakabad, from a locker in Delhi, said sources. The three properties are located in Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Lucknow. On Wednesday, the CBI had registered a case against Dixit, Kumar and Delhi-based businessman Sahdev Gupta on allegations of showing favour to private companies in the release of duty drawback from ICD, Tughlakabad and ICD, Patparganj. Source: The Times of India -

13th August 2015
CBI searches premises of Customs Commissioner in graft case
CBI searches premises of Customs Commissioner in graft case Two Customs agents Vijay Raghavan and Rahul Gupta who allegedly held benami properties of Dixit and Gupta. CBI today carried out searches at nine locations in Delhi and NCR, including the premises of Commissioner, Customs of Inland Container Depot in connection with a case of alleged cheating and corruption believed to be linked to dubious remittances to the tune of Rs 8,000 crore. The case relates to alleged fraudulent exports worth Rs 8,000 crore made by businessman Sahdev Gupta in 2013-14 to Hong Kong and Dubai, CBI sources said, adding, it was probed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. Advertisement It is alleged that garments purportedly exported were over invoiced to claim inflated duty draw back, the sources said. The DRI during its probe allegedly found that companies to whom the exports were claimed to have been made denied giving any such orders whereas Rs 8,000 crore were received by Gupta in his accounts. Based on its investigation, the DRI allegedly asked Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit, 1988-batch officer, and the then Deputy Commissioner Nalin Kumar to block duty draw back claim of Rs 300 crore presumably made by Gupta. The CBI sources said despite objections from the DRI, the officers allegedly delayed the process and allowed Rs 74 crore to be remitted to Gupta's account. They said the agency is probing alleged quid pro quo between Gupta and Customs officers who did not act on the recommendations of the DRI. The sources said the searches were carried out at seven places here and one each in Gurgaon and Greater Noida at the premises of Dixit, Kumar and Gupta. They said the case relates to alleged cheating, criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position to benefit the businessman in his fraudulent export thereby causing loss to the exchequer to the tune of Rs 74 crore. The searches were carried out at Delhi's Mehrauli residence and office of Gupta, Pandara Road residence of the Commissioner, Paschim Vihar residence of Deputy Commissioner and two Customs agents Vijay Raghavan and Rahul Gupta who allegedly held benami properties of Dixit and Gupta, the sources said. The office of Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Tughalakabad was also searched, they said. Source: Business Standard

12th August 2015
CBI searches premises of Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit
CBI searches premises of Customs Commissioner Atul Dixit CBI today carried out searches at nine locations in Delhi and NCR at the premises of Commissioner, Customs of Inland Container Depot in connection with a case of alleged cheating and corruption. CBI sources said the searches were carried out at seven places here and one each in Gurgaon and Greater Noida at the premises of Atul Dixit, Commissioner Customs, Nalin Kumar, the then Deputy Commissioner, and Sahdev Gupta, a businessman. They said the case relates to alleged cheating, criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position to benefit the businessman in his fraudulent export thereby causing loss to the exchequer to the tune of Rs 74 crore. PTI/TST

10th august 2015
Increase in informers, govt officers reward to check drugs smuggling
Increase in informers, govt officers reward to check drugs smuggling In order to check smuggling of narcotics, there has been over 25-fold increase in monetary reward to informers and government officers for giving tip off leading to seizure of opium, while for cocaine and heroin it would be six times more. The advance rewards given on seizure of narcotic drugs have been discontinued by the government.For opium, informers and officers can get reward of upto Rs 6,000 per kilogram, which is 25 times more than the earlier limit of Rs 220 per kilogram. There has been six-fold increase in reward for cocaine and heroin. The reward on seizure of cocaine has been increased to Rs 2.4 lakh from Rs 40,000 and for helping in seizure of one kilogram of heroin, the reward would be Rs 1.2 lakh as against Rs 20,000 given earlier, as per the new 'guidelines for grant of reward to informers and government servants, 2015' issued by the Finance Ministry. For seizure of ganja, the reward would be Rs 600.Earlier, the limit was Rs 80 per kg. For hashish also, the reward has been increased to Rs 2,000 per kg from Rs 400, it said.Government servants working in other departments or agencies like police, BSF and Coast Guard, etc, may also be considered for sanction of reward in respect of cases of seizures of contraband goods. However, only officers of these departments who hold rank equivalent to the Additional Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise or lower level officials, will be considered eligible for rewards. Earlier, the officers upto the level of Deputy Commissioner were being considered for the reward. For giving inputs leading to seizure of Mandrax tablets, the reward has been increased to Rs 2,000 per kilogram from Rs 500. PTI/TST

10th august 2015
Central employees fear delay in getting pay hike
Central employees fear delay in getting pay hike Central government employees are being promised bigger pay and allowances in fiscal 2016-17 as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Parliament on February 27, “the Seventh Pay Commission impact may have to be absorbed in 2016-17.” The Finance Ministry and the seventh central pay commission said nothing till date about this after the above announcement was made by Jaitley in his pre-budget speech for fiscal year 2015-16. Central government employees have expressed frustration at this, and are worried that the the seventh central pay commission’s recommendations might not be come out in time. After getting pay panel recommendations, the finance ministry will review the recommendation and present the report to the cabinet but the car bazar and real estate markets will attempt to prevent the implementation pay panel in time because of the delayed implementation of the Pay Commission will not only employees getting more arrears but could also drive the car sales and real estate markets. Earlier, the central government employees got arrears for more than 30 months because of the delayed implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission in October 2008; it’s resulted in robust demand for car loans and house loans. The employees paid margin amount of loans from arrears and instalments from their new hike salaries. According to Neelkanth Mishra of Credit Suisse, nearly one-third of India's middle class is employed by the government and as the Seventh Central Pay Commission comes through, there will be an improvement in discretionary spending. "In Tier 3, Tier 4 towns where government employees are 50-60 per cent of the middle class, it is very likely that real estate markets will take off again," he said. If implantation of Seventh Pay Commission occurs in time, then car bazar and real estate markets, will have become sufferers. So, there are miles to go before the pay panel recommendations will be implemented for Central government employees and fund allocation in the next budget and other issues like pretext of Fourteenth Finance Commission recommendations are expected to prevent implementation of pay commission in time for giving benefit to the car bazar and real estate markets at the cost of central government employees. However, Union Railways Minister and Home Secretary have sought reforms and a better salaries and allowances for top Railways officials and paramilitary forces respectively. TST

9th August 2015
Maintain punctuality: CBDT to taxman
Maintain punctuality: CBDT to taxman Taking an adverse view of certain Income Tax department officials not adhering to stipulated office timings, the CBDT has warned defaulters to mend their ways as this was causing inconvenience to taxpayers. The apex policy making body of the department has asked all its supervisory officers in the country to enforce work time schedules and rules for taking leave in their respective jurisdictions, strictly. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in its latest order of August 7 said it has been brought "to the notice of the Board that some officers or staff of the Income Tax department are leaving their stations/headquarters early on Fridays, during weekend and holidays and joining their duties late on next working day. "It is further noticed that many a times no permission is being taken from the superior controlling authorities before leaving station or headquarters as required under the rules. "It is stated that apart from disturbing decorum and office discipline, this practise of leaving stations or headquarters by the officers or staff without permission and not observing the office timings, is causing inconvenience to the taxpayers and members of public who visit Income tax offices in connection with their tax matters," the order said emphasising these instances have been viewed?"adversely" by the CBDT including Chairperson Anita Kapur herself. Keeping in mind these incidents, the order asked all cadre controlling and supervisory officers of the department to instruct officers and staff working under them "to refrain from leaving their station without prior permission and to strictly observe the prescribed office timings." A senior I-T official said these instructions have been issued as part of effective and prompt grievance redressal mechanisms taken up by the CBDT to reduce taxpayers' troubles. The CBDT, while issuing these instructions, has also invoked the standing instructions of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which state "failure to obtain permission of competent authority before leaving station or headquarter is to be viewed seriously and may entail disciplinary action." "Moreover, Article 56 of the Civil Service Regulations also provides that no officer is entitled to pay and allowance for any time he may spend beyond the limits of his charge without authority," the DoPT instructions stipulate. The CBDT has, in recent times, issued a number of instructions to the I-T department fors resolving taxpayers' grievances and problems in a time-bound manner as even Prime Minister Narendra Modi few months back asked the department to put its house in order in this regard. PTI/TST

9th August 2015
Varanasi jail inmate bags IGNOU gold medal
Varanasi jail inmate bags IGNOU gold medal In a first, a 23-year-old prisoner lodged in Varanasi central jail has been awarded a gold medal by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for topping in Diploma in Tourism Studies (DTS). Ajeet Kumar Saroj, a culpable homicide convict was yesterday escorted to the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where he was awarded his diploma at the 28th convocation of IGNOU. Vice-chancellor of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, Faizabad, G C Jaiswal awarded him the medal and also read out his curriculum vitae prepared by IGNOU. Ajeet, who is serving a 10-year imprisonment, was lodged in jail in February 2012 and has pursued four certificate courses from IGNOU before pursuing the Diploma in Tourism Studies, a one-year course offered by the varsity. "He pursued certificate courses in human rights, disaster management, NGO management and food and nutrition and had secured over 65 per cent marks in each of them. He is also pursuing B. Com from the university," said A N Tripathi, director, IGNOU Varanasi region. The inmate is the only gold medalist from Varanasi region of IGNOU, which covers 20 districts with over 6,000 students. Lauding Ajeet's achievement IGNOU Vice Chancellor said, "IGNOU is perhaps the only university in the world with extensive programmes for education and training of jail inmates." "We have 94 study centres at jails across the country with 25,000 inmates benefiting from this initiative. 39 Special Study Centres have been established in different jails to cater to the educational needs of jail inmates during the last year," he said. Fee waiver has been a significant factor in providing impetus to the rehabilitation of prisoners encouraging them to be productive members of society. Along with academic programmes, vocational skill upgradation is being considered in areas such as carpentry, bakery, welding, tailoring, motorcycle mechanic training among others. "The University has also facilitated placement drives for jail inmates with encouraging results. Inmates have gained confidence and sustainable means of livelihood," he added. At the 28th convocation, IGNOU yesterday awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates to 1,92,000 students. The credentials awarded at the convocation included 98 PhD degrees, 25 MPhil degrees, 47,198 Master's Degree, 75,305 Bachelors Degree, 51,253 Diplomas and 17,939 certificates. The figures, however, have gone down as against last year's when 2.3 lakh students were awarded the degrees and diplomas. The convocation ceremony was telecast live for the very first time on DD Bharti from the varsity's Convention Centre. PTI/TST

8th August 2015
SC rejects UP govt plea against CBI probe in Yadav Singh’s disproportionate assets case
SC rejects UP govt plea against CBI probe in Yadav Singh’s disproportionate assets case The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Uttar Pradesh government's appeal against Allahabad High Court order asking CBI to probe huge disproportionate assets against Yadav Singh. The Court declined to entertain a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government challenging the July 16 order of the Allahabad High Court of handing over the corruption case against former chief engineer of Noida authority, Yadav Singh, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The court said this was one case which we all feel should be investigated by CBI and brushed aside UP's arguments that CBI probe would be utilised by the Centre to destabilise the state government. The Court also asked the state government, "Why is UP is so much interested in this case. Let the gentleman (Mr Singh) come to Court if he feels the case should not have been given to CBI." Former cabinet minister and lawyer who represented the state government, Kapil Sibal, told the Court that the state didn't want CBI to probe the case, and wants an independent agency to investigate, and monitoring to be done by the high court. The Court told Sibal, "You put so much faith on CBI in Vyapam scam, but here you say CBI will destabilize state government, we are sorry." On Wednesday, the state government had moved the Court against the CBI probe order in Mr Singh's case, and had questioned the "extreme interest" taken by the Centre, accusing them of using the investigation agency for political purposes. Sibal also contested the claim of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money, which recommended CBI probe into this case and questioned SIT's jurisdiction. But the Court said, "We feel CBI probe is necessary in this case." The Court permitted the UP government to approach the Allahabad High Court for monitoring the probe. On Tuesday, CBI registered two cases of corruption against Singh, accused of amassing huge wealth disproportionate to his income. According to officials, the scrutiny of the former Noida chief engineer's Income Tax Returns and other connecting records have allegedly revealed that during the period 2009-2014, the total likely savings of the family of Singh was around Rs.1.70 crore whereas they were in possession of immovable property worth nearly Rs.3.60 crore. Source: TST


SC rejects UP govt plea against CBI probe in Yadav Singh’s disproportionate assets case by Manish Sen New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Uttar Pradesh government's appeal against Allahabad High Court order asking CBI to probe huge disproportionate assets against Yadav Singh. The Court declined to entertain a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government challenging the July 16 order of the Allahabad High Court of handing over the corruption case against former chief engineer of Noida authority, Yadav Singh, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The court said this was one case which we all feel should be investigated by CBI and brushed aside UP's arguments that CBI probe would be utilised by the Centre to destabilise the state government. The Court also asked the state government, "Why is UP is so much interested in this case. Let the gentleman (Mr Singh) come to Court if he feels the case should not have been given to CBI." Former cabinet minister and lawyer who represented the state government, Kapil Sibal, told the Court that the state didn't want CBI to probe the case, and wants an independent agency to investigate, and monitoring to be done by the high court. The Court told Sibal, "You put so much faith on CBI in Vyapam scam, but here you say CBI will destabilize state government, we are sorry." On Wednesday, the state government had moved the Court against the CBI probe order in Mr Singh's case, and had questioned the "extreme interest" taken by the Centre, accusing them of using the investigation agency for political purposes. Sibal also contested the claim of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money, which recommended CBI probe into this case and questioned SIT's jurisdiction. But the Court said, "We feel CBI probe is necessary in this case." The Court permitted the UP government to approach the Allahabad High Court for monitoring the probe. On Tuesday, CBI registered two cases of corruption against Singh, accused of amassing huge wealth disproportionate to his income. According to officials, the scrutiny of the former Noida chief engineer's Income Tax Returns and other connecting records have allegedly revealed that during the period 2009-2014, the total likely savings of the family of Singh was around Rs.1.70 crore whereas they were in possession of immovable property worth nearly Rs.3.60 crore. Source: TST

5th August 2015
AOs miss CAO promotions due to CBEC delay
AOs miss CAO promotions due to CBEC delay A number of Administrative officers (AOs) of group B gazetted, slated for a promotion to the post of Chief Accounts Officer (CAO), group A gazetted, had to retire before being elevated to the higher position as the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) had not cleared their files, which had been pending for the last ten months. Officers belonging to the Ministerial cadre, who joined the Customs and Central Excise department after clearing Staff Selection Commission examinations, were due for a promotion since implementation of the CBEC cadre restructuring, October 15, 2014. The sanctioned strength of CAO in CBEC was 155 and after the restructuring, it reaches 349. Accordingly, 194 cadre restructuring and others regular vacancies for the year 2013-14 and 2014-15 are to be filled up through promotion from the post of Administrative officer. An Administrative officer, who retired on July 31, said, "I waited till the last moment to retire as a group A officer. It's very personal and emotional. I would have been proud of the elevated post for the rest of my life." He, who is upset with the delay. He is not the only one who seems to be bearing "the brunt". Another officer retired in June, missing his promotion. "I had been waiting for the promotion for nine months. After putting so many years in the service, we to retire at least as a group A Officer and consider it as a farewell gift from the government. But it's unfortunate that no one bothers about us," he rues The officers, who did not till get promotion of Chief Accounts Officer alleging that only Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers, Superintendent and Inspector cadre posts are well taken care by CBEC. The all cadre of IRS Officers had got promotions after cadre restructuring on new created posts and getting hike pay. The CBEC created 194 regular posts of the Chief Accounts officer and 2118 temporary posts of Assistant Commissioner (Both initial group A posts) under cadre restructuring. Even then regular posts are lying vacant till date. However temporary posts (only for five years) were filled up from the post of superintendents in October 2014. Accordingly, more than 2000 Superintendent were given ad-hoc promotions on ‘in-situ basis’ to the post of Assistant Commissioners, subsequently Inspectors were promoted to superintendents on ad-hoc basis. The ministerial officials alleging that they are deprived from promotions others cadre also under cadre restructuring on the pretext of new Recruitment Rules. The regret of the missed promotion is palpable in other ministerial cadre officials as well. An official said, "It gives us pride to introduce ourselves as Inspector to our colleagues but the department completely favors money earning sons, I mean revenue earnings." A senior officer in CBEC claimed that above 200 posts of CAO were vacant but even then, the CBEC did not clear the promotion files, delaying the matter for ten months for unknown reasons. TST

5th August 2015
ED to slap money laundering charges on Yadav Singh
ED to slap money laundering charges on Yadav Singh The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is soon expected to register a criminal case of money laundering against former Noida Chief Engineer, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway Yadav Singh and his associates. The agency was asked by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money to file a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against him last December but the absence of a "predicate offence" against the officer was a legal obstacle being faced by the ED to go ahead in this regard. With the CBI registering a case against Singh and conducting searches on his premises today, the ED, sources said, will soon file a case and begin formal probe under PMLA laws taking cosgnisance of the former agency's criminal complaint. Sources said the SIT had a meeting here yesterday and reviewed the case with both CBI and ED. They said the ED has detected good leads against the officer and his associates which could form the basis of a probe under anti-money laundering laws. The CBI, after an Allahabad High Court order, registered two cases against Singh and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income. Close on the heels of lodging these two cases with a special CBI court, the agency today carried out searches at 14 locations including at Yadav's residence and offices of Noida. The ED, sources said, will also get in touch with the Income Tax department to obtain more information about the financial details on Singh as the tax sleuths were the first to have taken action against him as they conducted searches on his premises in Uttar Pradesh last year. "The scrutiny of ITRs and other connecting records have allegedly revealed that during the period 2009-2014, the total likely savings of the family of then Chief Engineer was Rs 1.70 crore (approx) whereas they were in possession of immovable property worth Rs 3.60 crore (approx). "Besides, an amount of Rs 10 crore (approx) was allegedly recovered from one of his associates, which also reportedly belonged to then Chief Engineer," CBI spokesperson said here. Read Also: CBI registers two corruption cases against Yadav Singh PTI


ED to slap money laundering charges on Yadav Singh New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is soon expected to register a criminal case of money laundering against former Noida Chief Engineer, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway Yadav Singh and his associates. The agency was asked by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money to file a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against him last December but the absence of a "predicate offence" against the officer was a legal obstacle being faced by the ED to go ahead in this regard. With the CBI registering a case against Singh and conducting searches on his premises today, the ED, sources said, will soon file a case and begin formal probe under PMLA laws taking cosgnisance of the former agency's criminal complaint. Sources said the SIT had a meeting here yesterday and reviewed the case with both CBI and ED. They said the ED has detected good leads against the officer and his associates which could form the basis of a probe under anti-money laundering laws. The CBI, after an Allahabad High Court order, registered two cases against Singh and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income. Close on the heels of lodging these two cases with a special CBI court, the agency today carried out searches at 14 locations including at Yadav's residence and offices of Noida. The ED, sources said, will also get in touch with the Income Tax department to obtain more information about the financial details on Singh as the tax sleuths were the first to have taken action against him as they conducted searches on his premises in Uttar Pradesh last year. "The scrutiny of ITRs and other connecting records have allegedly revealed that during the period 2009-2014, the total likely savings of the family of then Chief Engineer was Rs 1.70 crore (approx) whereas they were in possession of immovable property worth Rs 3.60 crore (approx). "Besides, an amount of Rs 10 crore (approx) was allegedly recovered from one of his associates, which also reportedly belonged to then Chief Engineer," CBI spokesperson said here. PTI/TST

5th August 2015
CBI registers two corruption cases against Yadav Singh
CBI registers two corruption cases against Yadav Singh CBI has registered two separate cases against the then NOIDA Chief Engineer, Greater NOIDA and Yamuna Expressway, Yadav Singh and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income. The agency today carried out searches at 14 locations including at his residence and offices of Noida. CBI sources said the first case has been registered under criminal conspiracy and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Singh, his wife Kusum Lata, daughter Garima Bhushan and son Sunny Yadav besides one more person Rajender Minocha for amassing disproportionate assets. CBI sources said it is alleged that during searches by Income Tax department in November, 2014, several incriminating documents and the Income Tax Returns were allegedly recovered from several premises of Singh. "The scrutiny of ITRs and other connecting records have allegedly revealed that during the period 2009-2014, the total likely savings of the family of then Chief Engineer was Rs.1.70 crore(approx) whereas they were in possession of immovable property worth Rs.3.60 crore(approx). "Besides, an amount of Rs 10 crores(approx) was allegedly recovered from one of his associates, which also reportedly belonged to then Chief Engineer," CBI spokesperson said here today. The official said cases have been registered on the direction of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court which directed it to conduct an investigation into allegations of corruption and amassing of unaccounted money by the accused in regard to all transactions, persons and entities connected thereto. PTI/TST

4th August 2015
Railways the most corrupt govt dept, says CVC
Railways the most corrupt govt dept, says CVC Railways topped the list of government organisations in 2014 against whom a maximum number of complaints of corruption-nearly 12,000-were received by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). As many as 12,776 complaints of alleged corruption were received against Railways employees followed by 6,836 against bank employees, 3,572 against Delhi government employees and 3,468 against Income Tax officials, the CVC said in its 2014 annual report. A total of 64,410 corruption complaints were received by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) last year, a rise of 82% than the preceding year, the CVC said in its annual report 2014, which was tabled in Parliament recently. The CVC had received 35,332 complaints in 2013. There has been a rise of 82.29% in the corruption complaints in last year. “It is for the first time that the commission had received such a high number of corruption complaints,” a senior CVC official familiar with the matter said. Of the total of 64,410 complaints received by the CVC, 36,115 were vague or unverifiable, 758 were anonymous or pseudonymous and 24,012 were for officials not under CVC. There were 1,214 verifiable complaints which were sent for inquiry or investigation to chief vigilance officers (CVOs) who act as distant arm of the CVC, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). TST

3rd August 2015
857 porn sites banned in India
857 porn sites banned in India New Delhi: The internet services providers in the country have blocked over 857 ‘porn websites’ in the country on the direction of government of India. The move, however, did not go down well with majority of people who took to social media to criticise it. The government had asked all internet services provider to block access to 857 pornography websites through the Telecom Ministry order. The Telecom Ministry Friday issued the confidential order addressed to all Internet service licensees asks for the "disablement" of 857 URLs" under "the provision of section 7913)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the content hosted on these websites relate to morality, decency as given in Article 19(2)of the Constitution of India." This is the "the largest single order" of such a nature, says Pranesh Prakash, policy director at Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), which has posted a copy on its website. However, The government on Monday denied a crackdown on pornographic websites, saying that the denial of access to the sites was only "temporary" and a prelude to the creation of a regulatory body. "It was because of the Supreme Court's observation. The case is going on in the Supreme Court since 2013. The government has issued a advisory to the Internet Service Providers to take appropriate action," sources in the Telecom Ministry said. "Porn ban is anti-freedom, impractical, not enforceable. Politically not very smart too. avoidable. Let's not manage people's private lives," author Chetan Bhagat tweeted. The apex court took cognizance of the matter after a lawyer filed a PIL to block porn sites. "I appreciate what the government has done by blocking 857 porn sites," a lawyer said. "The government has taken some steps after three years. There is no right to watch illegal things even in private space. I've given examples of sexually explicit acts/ obscene acts in the court," he said. TST

3rd August 2015
JBT scam: SC upholds jail term of O P Chautala, his son
JBT scam: SC upholds jail term of O P Chautala, his son The Supreme Court today dismissed the plea of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and others, challenging their conviction and award of 10-year jail term in the teachers recruitment scam case. "We are not inclined to entertain any of these appeals and they are dismissed," a bench of Justices F M I Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh said. Besides 80-year-old Chautala's appeal, the bench also dismissed the plea of his son Ajay Singh Chautala, 54, and others in the case saying that the Delhi High Court verdict was "reasoned one". The court, however, said that the convicts may move the high court with their pleas seeking relief like parole on health ground. Chautala, his son and three others are serving 10-year jail term in the case. A Supreme Court judge had on July 6 recused himself from hearing Chautala's plea saying he had appeared for some of the convicts in the case. The high court had on March 5 upheld the jail term awarded to Chautala, his son Ajay and three others, saying, "The overwhelming evidence showed the shocking and spine-chilling state of affairs in the country." The father-son duo and 53 others, including two IAS officers, were convicted on January 16, 2013 by the trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000. Besides Chautalas and whistleblower IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education, the high court had also awarded 10-year prison term to IAS officer Vidya Dhar, then Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, and Sher Singh Badshami, then MLA and political adviser to Chautala senior. All the 55 convicts have been sentenced under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 418 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The high court had modified the trial court's order on the quantum of sentence and awarded two-year jail term to 50 other convicts. Initially, there were 62 accused in the case. While two died before filing of the charge sheet, four died during the trial of the case and one was discharged by the trial court. today dismissed the plea of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and others, challenging their conviction and award of 10-year jail term in the teachers' recruitment scam case. "We are not inclined to entertain any of these appeals and they are dismissed," a bench of Justices F M I Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh said. Besides 80-year-old Chautala's appeal, the bench also dismissed the plea of his son Ajay Singh Chautala, 54, and others in the case saying that the Delhi High Court verdict was "reasoned one". The court, however, said that the convicts may move the high court with their pleas seeking relief like parole on health ground. Chautala, his son and three others are serving 10-year jail term in the case. A Supreme Court judge had on July 6 recused himself from hearing Chautala's plea saying he had appeared for some of the convicts in the case. The high court had on March 5 upheld the jail term awarded to Chautala, his son Ajay and three others, saying, "The overwhelming evidence showed the shocking and spine-chilling state of affairs in the country." The father-son duo and 53 others, including two IAS officers, were convicted on January 16, 2013 by the trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000. Besides Chautalas and whistleblower IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education, the high court had also awarded 10-year prison term to IAS officer Vidya Dhar, then Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, and Sher Singh Badshami, then MLA and political adviser to Chautala senior. All the 55 convicts have been sentenced under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 418 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The high court had modified the trial court's order on the quantum of sentence and awarded two-year jail term to 50 other convicts. Initially, there were 62 accused in the case. While two died before filing of the charge sheet, four died during the trial of the case and one was discharged by the trial court. PTI/TST

1st August 2015
Woman levels sexual assault charge against IPS father-in-law
Woman levels sexual assault charge against IPS father-in-law A woman has filed a case of sexual assault against her IPS father-in-law and lodged complaints of domestic violence and torture for dowry against her husband and in-laws family. The mother of two children lodged FIR against father-in-law Mohammad Mansoor Ahmad, IPS, currently posted in BMP (Bihar Military Police) at Jamui, with the Phulwarisharif police station alleging sexual assault yesterday. "I have directed Deputy Superintendent of Police Phulwarisharif to investigate the matter," Senior Superintendent of Police Patna Vikash Vaibhav told PTI today. The woman has complained of domestic violence and torture for dowry against her husband and his family and sexual assault under IPC 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), Station House Office (SHO) of Phulwarisharif police station said. The lady, married to one S M Danish of Digha locality in Patna in 2010, alleged in her complaint that the in-laws were angry with her after she gave birth to two girls and were conspiring to marry her husband to another girl. Meanwhile, the husband's family has lodged a counter-complaint against her with Digha police station. DSP Phulwarisharif Mohammad Imtiaz, entrusted with the probe, said he was investigating the matter in the light of both the FIRs. PTI/TST

1st August 2015
DA likely to be hiked by 6% from July
DA likely to be hiked by 6% from July The government is likely to approve a hike in dearness allowance (DA) to 119 per cent from the existing 113 per cent, benefiting the around 30 lakh central government employees and 50 lakh pensioners including dependents. "The average rate of retail inflation for industrial workers from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 works out to be 6.77 per cent. Thus the Central government will hike dearness allowance for it employees by 6 per cent," an official said. He further said the Finance Ministry will put a Cabinet proposal in September for approval of 6 per cent dearness allowance hike from July 1 this year as the revised Consumer Price Index number for Industrial Workers for June was released by Labour Ministry on Friday. With increase in DA, the pensioners will also gain as the benefit provided to them as dearness relief will be hiked to 119 per cent of pension. The government had increased DA to 113 per cent from 107 per cent with effect from January 1, 2015, on April 7 on the basis of agreed formula for revision of the allowance. However, the central government employees' union is not very enthused by the 6 per cent hike in the dearness allowance as their long pending demand of merger of DA with basic pay has not been given heed by Seventh Pay Commission and the government. "The erosion of value of wages is unbearable at 50 per cent dearness allowance. Now it will be 119 per cent. It is high time to merge DA with basic pay to provide relief to employees," a leader of a central government employees' union said. "We had submitted our memorandum in this regard to Seventh Pay Commission. They forwarded it to Central Government. We have so many times apprised about the issue to the government. But no decision has been taken so far," he said. TST

30th july 2015
DRI detects 470 cases of misuse of export incentives
DRI detects 470 cases of misuse of export incentives The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) detected 470 cases involving Rs 4,087.12 crore in the last three fiscals related to misuse of export promotion incentives. The CBI too has registered 16 cases worth Rs 78 crore during the last three years related to "misuse of customs and export promotion incentives", Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha. There are reports that certain companies are indulging in fraudulent practices to capitalise on the customs and export promotion incentives as well as to bag special concessions given by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). The minister also said that in special economic zones (SEZs), 13 units were found to be involved in fraudulent activities related to export and import in the last three years. "Various government regulatory agencies e.g CBI, DRI, Customs and Central Excise and DGFT keep a regular watch and closely monitor various activities related to export and import, in order to keep a check on fraudulent practices," she said. In an another reply Sitharaman said that in 2014-15, exports from SEZs accounted for 16.29 per cent of the country's total exports. Exports from SEZs declined to Rs 4.63 lakh crore in 2014-15 from Rs 4.94 lakh crore in the previous year. To another question, the minister said there is a proposal to re-visit the criteria for categorisation of industries in the country. "The government has, at present, proposed to revise the investment limit to classify Micro, small and medium Enterprises and have invited comments from stakeholders in this regard," she said. Bill for amendment in the Micro, small and medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 has already been placed in Parliament, she added. PTI/TST

27th july 2015
Former Union Minister P K Thungon gets 4.5 yrs jail in corruption case
Former Union Minister P K Thungon gets 4.5 yrs jail in corruption case Former Union Minister P K Thungon was today awarded a four-and-a-half year jail term by a Delhi court in connection with a case lodged in 1998 pertaining to misappropriation of Rs two crore released by the Centre. Besides the prison term, Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Jain also imposed a total fine of Rs 10,000 on 68-year-old Thungon, a former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. The court awarded three-and-a-half years imprisonment to the two other convicts, Tali AO and C Sangit, while fourth convict Mahesh Maheshwari was awarded two-and-a-half years jail term in the case. It imposed a fine of Rs 6,000 on Tali AO and that of Rs 4,000 each on Sangit and Maheshwari.During arguments held earlier in the day, CBI had sought "approporiate sentence" for Thungon and the three other convicts. The agency prosecutor told the court that Thungon had held high office having been the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and a Minister of State at the Centre, but he still committed the crime. "An appropriate sentence should be awarded to Thungon while keeping in view his stature. The three other convicts helped him in the conspiracy, so appropriate sentence should be given to them," the prosecutor submitted. He also said that four other cases were still pending against Thungon. Thungon's counsel contended before the court that all the other cases pending against his client were arising out of a single FIR lodged by CBI in an alleged housing scam case and that he was the only one to look after his ailing wife who is suffering from various serious ailments. The court had on July 21 convicted Thungon, who was the then Minister of State Ministry, Urban Affairs and Employment, Tali AO, C Sangit and Mahesh Maheshwari in the case and sent them to jail. All the four convicts were brought to the court today from the prison. Thungon and three others were convicted for offences under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to CBI, in pursuance to the proposal of Nagaland government, the then Planning Commission had sanctioned an amount of Rs two crore in 1994 for renovation and upgradation of minor irrigation projects for the state and the money was to be released in two instalments of Rs one crore each. It had said that the accused had misappropriated the funds. PTI/TST

27th july 2015
Will IPS officer Amitabh Thakur suspension be Akhilesh govt’s waterloo?
Will IPS officer Amitabh Thakur suspension be Akhilesh govt’s waterloo? The suspension of Inspector General of Civil Defence Amitabh Thakur is proof that the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh has not learnt from past mistakes. IPS officer Amitabh Thakur's battle with Mulayam Singh Yadav may hurt the government IPS officer Amitabh Thakur's battle with Mulayam Singh Yadav may hurt the Akhilesh government. The state government had annoyed almost everyone in 2013 by suspending Durga Shakti Nagpal, the then Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Gautam Budh Nagar. Within a few hours of her being removed, Narendra Bhati, chairman of UP Agro, with the rank of state minister, had held a public meeting in Kadalpur village in Greater Noida and claimed that it was he who had spoken to the CM, and her suspension order was faxed within 41 minutes. The state’s health minister Ahmad Hasan then added fuel to the fire by claiming that Nagpal had a dubious background. A witch-hunt was started against her just because she had refused to be an accomplice to the crimes of some SP leaders, who were believed to have been involved in illegal sand mining, allegedly patronised by Bhati. Trying to make her fall in line, the state government started to find out everything related to her and her family. The IAS officer’s suspension was revoked after 56 days, only when she tendered an apology to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Today IPS officer Amitabh Thakur’s case is not very different. Sources claim he has been “bullied” by SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav because he was taking on cases of corruption against Mining Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and other ministers in the Akhilesh government. When Thakur tried to file an FIR against Mulayam, Akhilesh decided to suspend him. Now, sources claim, all departments of the state government are after Thakur to defame his character. Already, the political gamesmanship has begun. A woman from Ghaziabad, believed to be connected with the SP, had named Thakur in a dubious rape case, for which the police gave him a clean chit only two months ago. Added to that, Hasan has continued to make allegations about Thakur’s honesty again and again. A debate started in political circles in 2013, after the suspension of Nagpal, that the SP would be reduced to 100-120 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections because of the anger of the people. Now sources hold that Thakur’s suspension has brought down the SP’s stock to 50-60 seats. As far as the government is concerned, the war against Thakur will have its consequences. It is almost clear now that the rape charge against him will fall flat in the coming days. Further, Thakur is also seen as a social activist, who is held in high regard. Thirdly, he is in no mood to tender an apology. Instead, he is gearing up to fight his battle and as the controversy unwinds, the state government is likely to lose face. Thakur has also moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to challenge the appointment of a set of police officers to probe all the cases related to him. According to the law, such an inquiry against an IPS officer cannot be started unless he has replied to the allegations against him. But this is only the beginning. Since the Lucknow police have refused to register a case against Mulayam for threatening Thakur, the officer is preparing to move the Allahabad High Court. He has an audio-tape of the conversation in which Mulayam is apparently heard threatening him. Although there is no doubt that an FIR doesn’t mean anything for Mulayam as an individual, his party’s political graph will further slide if Thakur gets the court’s respite. Besides the mistake made in the case of Nagpal, Mulayam and Akhilesh should have remembered the blunder of 2006 when SP’s goons tried to take over Lucknow University campus and the then VC Prof RP Singh had announced he would cleanse it of criminals. Mulayam was CM then and openly standing by the rogue student leaders of his party. The SP MLAs demanded Singh’s arrest. But Singh got public sympathy by declaring he wouldn’t bow before Mulayam. No wonder the SP had to swallow the bitter poll pill in 2007 when it was reduced from 143 to 97 seats even though doles were announced for girls, freedom fighters and other sections of society. Today, Thakur is keener to take on the SP than Nagpal. In fact, he may yet prove to be Akhilesh government’s Waterloo. Mail Today/TST

26th july 2015
30 per cent lawyers in the country fake: Bar Council chief
30 per cent lawyers in the country fake: Bar Council chief Thirty per cent of lawyers in the country are fake, possessing ''fraudulent'' law degrees or non-practising persons, and were degrading the profession, Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has said. Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra He also said 20% of persons sporting lawyers robes do not have proper law degrees. "Thirty per cent of all lawyers are fake, who either hold fraudulent degrees or are non-practising persons and 20 per cent of those who sport lawyers robes do not have proper degrees," he said addressing Lawyers Meet 2015 here last evening. He pointed out how a former Delhi Law Minister himself had a fake law degree. "Fake lawyers and non-practising law graduates are degrading the standards of the profession", he said adding BCI's Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015 was one of the steps taken by it to filter fake, non-practising and bad elements from the court campuses and bar associations. The initiative brought out in January this year was aimed at checking if someone on the rolls of Bar Council was in real practice. BCI, statutorily empowered to take action, was in the process of weeding out bad elements from the rolls (of advocates with BCI), he said. "Strikes on petty issues have become a regular phenomenon due to such persons, we are serious about this and will take stiff action," he said. Mishra's views comes months after the Tamil Nadu Bar Council unearthed a fake law degree racket. PTI/TST

25th july 2015
Notice to ADM for “concealing” info on Priyanka land purchase case
Notice to ADM for “concealing” info on Priyanka land purchase case The Himachal Pradesh Information Commission today issued notices to ADM-cum-PIO, Shimla, and others asking them why penalty should not be imposed on them for "concealing" information in a supplementary plea filed by an RTI activist in the case relating to purchase of land by Priyanka Vadra near here. The State Chief Information Commissioner Bhim Sen, while hearing the petition of RTI activist Debasheesh Bhattacharya, also said that Information Commission offices do?not maintain records as per the government order, which also adds to the delay in giving information. Bhattacharya had sought from the PIO information regarding the number of appeals filed before the First Appellate Authority (FAA)-cum-Deputy Commissioner between January 15, 2014 and 15 January 2015 in which the appeal was decided on the same day and alleged that information provided to him in response to the supplementary RTI in connection with Priyanka Vadra land purchase case was not complete. Bhattacharya also pointed out that in the five cases mentioned in the reply, no order was passed and these were simply transfer orders and the lone case in which orders were issued was not mentioned in the reply. Bhattacharya further said that he had filed another appeal against the orders of FAA with State Information Commission on January 20, 2015 but the PIO refused to acknowledge the receipt of the letter and he had to submit the certificate from the postal authorities to establish that the letter was duly received by the Diarist of FAA on March 7, 2015. Priynka Vadra had filed an appeal against the orders of the PIO on December 23, 2014 through her lawyer and FAA decided the appeal on the same day and stayed the orders without even issuing a notice to Bhattacharya. The RTI activist then filed another application seeking information regarding the number of cases in which FAA had acted so promptly. PTI/TST

25th july 2015
Notice to ADM for “concealing” info on Priyanka land purchase case
Notice to ADM for “concealing” info on Priyanka land purchase case The Himachal Pradesh Information Commission today issued notices to ADM-cum-PIO, Shimla, and others asking them why penalty should not be imposed on them for "concealing" information in a supplementary plea filed by an RTI activist in the case relating to purchase of land by Priyanka Vadra near here. The State Chief Information Commissioner Bhim Sen, while hearing the petition of RTI activist Debasheesh Bhattacharya, also said that Information Commission offices do?not maintain records as per the government order, which also adds to the delay in giving information. Bhattacharya had sought from the PIO information regarding the number of appeals filed before the First Appellate Authority (FAA)-cum-Deputy Commissioner between January 15, 2014 and 15 January 2015 in which the appeal was decided on the same day and alleged that information provided to him in response to the supplementary RTI in connection with Priyanka Vadra land purchase case was not complete. Bhattacharya also pointed out that in the five cases mentioned in the reply, no order was passed and these were simply transfer orders and the lone case in which orders were issued was not mentioned in the reply. Bhattacharya further said that he had filed another appeal against the orders of FAA with State Information Commission on January 20, 2015 but the PIO refused to acknowledge the receipt of the letter and he had to submit the certificate from the postal authorities to establish that the letter was duly received by the Diarist of FAA on March 7, 2015. Priynka Vadra had filed an appeal against the orders of the PIO on December 23, 2014 through her lawyer and FAA decided the appeal on the same day and stayed the orders without even issuing a notice to Bhattacharya. The RTI activist then filed another application seeking information regarding the number of cases in which FAA had acted so promptly. PTI/TST

25th july 2015
Notice to ADM for “concealing” info on Priyanka land purchase case
Notice to ADM for “concealing” info on Priyanka land purchase case The Himachal Pradesh Information Commission today issued notices to ADM-cum-PIO, Shimla, and others asking them why penalty should not be imposed on them for "concealing" information in a supplementary plea filed by an RTI activist in the case relating to purchase of land by Priyanka Vadra near here. The State Chief Information Commissioner Bhim Sen, while hearing the petition of RTI activist Debasheesh Bhattacharya, also said that Information Commission offices do?not maintain records as per the government order, which also adds to the delay in giving information. Bhattacharya had sought from the PIO information regarding the number of appeals filed before the First Appellate Authority (FAA)-cum-Deputy Commissioner between January 15, 2014 and 15 January 2015 in which the appeal was decided on the same day and alleged that information provided to him in response to the supplementary RTI in connection with Priyanka Vadra land purchase case was not complete. Bhattacharya also pointed out that in the five cases mentioned in the reply, no order was passed and these were simply transfer orders and the lone case in which orders were issued was not mentioned in the reply. Bhattacharya further said that he had filed another appeal against the orders of FAA with State Information Commission on January 20, 2015 but the PIO refused to acknowledge the receipt of the letter and he had to submit the certificate from the postal authorities to establish that the letter was duly received by the Diarist of FAA on March 7, 2015. Priynka Vadra had filed an appeal against the orders of the PIO on December 23, 2014 through her lawyer and FAA decided the appeal on the same day and stayed the orders without even issuing a notice to Bhattacharya. The RTI activist then filed another application seeking information regarding the number of cases in which FAA had acted so promptly. PTI/TST

25th july 2015
Parliament logjam: GST may miss rollout deadline
Parliament logjam: GST may miss rollout deadline One of independent India’s biggest economic reforms, the goods and services tax, may miss its rollout deadline next year as an acrimonious face-off between the government and Opposition threatens to wash out Parliament’s monsoon session, sources said on Friday. The key reform bill that aims to create a unified national tax market has a slim chance of making its April 1, 2016 deadline if the government fails to pass a pending Constitution amendment bill during the ongoing session because the states may not have enough time to approve it. A Constitutional amendment has to be passed by a majority in both Houses of Parliament with two-thirds of the members voting – a condition likely to be fulfilled only in the winter session, usually held in December. Once it passes Parliament, it has to be approved in the same manner by a majority of the 29 states but the GST’s road is made tougher by looming state elections next year. By March, assemblies in five states would be dissolved in the run up to the polls, making it difficult for the necessary 15 states to pass the bill between January and March, especially because assemblies are expected to take a longer time to discuss the legislation. “After the pending bill is cleared, it has to be ratified in a majority of the state assemblies. Only then the main GST bill can be passed in Parliament. If the Constitution amendment bill is passed in the winter session, it is impossible to meet the deadline,” said a senior Union minister. Parliamentary affairs sources said the 122nd Constitution amendment bill for the GST may be tabled only in the last week of the session. The bill – which aims to dramatically alter the country’s tax administration by replacing a string of central and local levies such as excise and octroi with a single tax – is a key constituent of the government’s reform agenda that has run into rough weather in Parliament. Led by the Congress, the Opposition has repeatedly disrupted both Houses, demanding the resignation of top BJP leaders over the Vyapam and Lalit Modi controversies but the NDA has indicated it will yield no ground, creating a stalemate. “So what if this GST bill misses a deadline? During the UPA rule, we missed two deadlines in 2010 and 2012. For us, the GST stands for Good and Simple Tax. Arun Jaitley’s GST bill is neither good, nor simple,” Congress strategist Jairam Ramesh told HT. Congress leaders also pointed out the BJP had washed out two Parliament sessions in 2010 and 2011 over coal scam and the 2G scandal when it was in the opposition. The GST is key to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of injecting investment and boost ease of doing business in the country because a single tax would come as a boon for industry, which has to often deal with multiple levies within the country. Another crucial piece of reform legislation that may have to wait longer is the real estate bill, which intends to create a regulator in the fast developing sector, as the Congress is in no mood to allow its passage. A bill to curb atrocities against SCs and STs may also not get the Opposition’s support though Congress president Sonia Gandhi had demanded early clearance of the bill in the past. The government has slated 11 bills for passage during the session but the Congress is confident it would be able to stall proceedings till the end of the session. During the past few days, the Congress has even tried to reach out to regional rivals like the Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK and Trinamool Congress to build a broader front on the issue of corruption in the NDA administration. “Govt's responsibility to let House function. If govt acts on what we r suggesting, Parliament will function without any hindrance,” CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury tweeted. Source: Hidustan Times

25th july
Fed up with Akhilesh govt, IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh seeks VRS
Fed up with Akhilesh govt, IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh seeks VRS Senior IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh has sought voluntary retirement (VRS) from the Akhilesh Yadav government, saying it was "impossible for an honest officer to work" in the existing administrative set up of the Uttar Pradesh government. IAS officcer Surya Pratap Singh has sought voluntary retirement, saying it was "impossible for an honest officer to work" in UP. Singh, who is 59 and due to retire this December, plea for VRS, made in a letter to state chief secretary Alok Ranjan on Thursday, came amid resentment among sections of the bureaucracy against the Akhilesh regime for its perceived victimisation of officers who do not toe the line of their political bosses. "It is impossible for any officer to work with sincerity and honesty in Uttar Pradesh. Please treat this letter as my decision to opt for voluntary retirement. I want to devote myself to social work for the rest of my life. I will continue till I receive your order granting me voluntary retirement," Singh, a native of the state, said in his seven-page letter. Singh, a 1982 batch officer, is now principal secretary in the bureau of public enterprises - perceived as an insignificant posting. On his move, Singh said: "I feel relieved now of the huge burden of being an IAS officer. I was unable to do much for the poor. I will now try to work for them without being in the cadre." In his letter, Singh painted an unflattering picture of the administration in his home state. "If any IAS officer does not fulfil the illegitimate demands of even a petty local-level ruling party leader, a sword of suspension or transfer hangs over his head." Singh pointed out that "every week 24 IAS and IPS officers get transferred in Uttar Pradesh" and of 200 such officers suspended across India in the past 15 years , 105 were from the state. Singh pasted his VRS letter in his Facebook post, has gone viral on the internet with near million views in the last 2 days. Singh had also openly backed IPS officer Amitabh Thakur, who is embroiled in an allegation battle with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Source: TST

23rd july 2015
100 IAS officers came under CBI scanner in last 5 years: Govt
100 IAS officers came under CBI scanner in last 5 years: Govt New Delhi: 100 IAS officers came under the CBI scanner in the last five years for their alleged involvement in various corruption cases with the Central Government according sanction to prosecute 66 of them. The CBI has sent requests seeking sanction to prosecute 100 IAS officer, 10 CSS Group A officers and nine CBI Group A officer since 2010, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh said a written response in the Rajya Sabha. He said the Centre sanctioned the CBI requests in the cases of 66 IAS officers, 8 CSS Group A officers and six CBI Group A officers during the period. "It is stated that all the aforesaid requests in which sanction for prosecution has been received are still under trial. Hence, there is no input for conviction, acquittal and discharge," said the Minister. To another query - if the CBI says its officers are not serious about pursuing their investigations in court and deliberately seek adjournments time and again, the Minister said CBI officers pursue all pending cases in courts sincerely for their expeditious and timely disposal and adjournment is not sought without any justified reason. TST

23rd july 2015
IPS officer gets show cause notice for not saluting minister
IPS officer gets show cause notice for not saluting minister Taking a serious view of alleged disrespect shown to the state Home Minister, a show cause notice was today issued by the Home Department to senior IPS officer Rishiraj Singh who had courted controversy by not saluting Ramesh Chennithala at a function recently. The notice, issued by the department on the instructions of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, sought an explanation from Singh for his behaviour, official sources said. The 1985 batch IPS officer had allegedly failed to acknowledge the presence of Chennithala by not saluting him at a passing out parade of women police personnel at Thrissur on July 11.Though Chennithala had said he had no complaints, the chief minister had taken a serious view of the incident. As soon as it was announced in the public address system that the minister had reached the venue, senior police officers on the dias stood up to receive him and saluted him. However, ADGP Rishiraj Singh, in-charge of the Armed Forces Battalion, who was seated on a sofa, continued to do so and allegedly did not welcome the minister or salute him.When the incident became a talking point in the social media, Singh dismissed the reports as 'baseless'. A photograph showing the ADGP seated went viral in the social media and it was alleged that he had shown disrespect by not standing up and saluting the minister. The officer had later clarified that the minister had entered through the back side of the venue which he had failed to notice. "We were guests...As per protocol, those sitting in the gallery for watching the parade are supposed to stand only when the national anthem is played. Otherwise we are supposed to sit till the VVIP leaves," Singh had stated justifying his behaviour. Singh, who shared the dais with Chennithala at a function few days ago, had greeted the minister with folded hands. TST

23rd july 2015
Centre, states working to meet GST roll out deadline: Revenue Secretary
Centre, states working to meet GST roll out deadline: Revenue Secretary The Centre and states are taking administrative steps to meet the April 1, 2016 deadline for roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Finance Ministry said today. The Select Panel of Rajya Sabha has submitted its report to the House on the GST Constitution Amendment Bill and it is likely to be taken up for consideration and passage in the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament. The passage of the bill on GST in Parliament and its ratification by 50 per cent of the state assemblies will pave the way for implementation of the indirect tax regime. "Administratively, we are taking all steps, both Centre and States, to meet April 1, 2016 deadline. Effort of central government and state government would be to have reasonable rate of GST so that GST experience is a successful experience for the whole country," Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters here. On the proposal of levying additional 1 per cent tax by the states on inter-state supply of goods, Das said the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers have already set up a sub-committee to look at ways to minimise the cascading effect of the additional levy.As per the provisions of the Bill, states can levy the additional tax for a period of two years or for a period as decided by the GST Council."That is the matter which GST Council will decide... I am sure GST Council will take very balanced and good decision on the matter," Das said. GST, touted as the biggest indirect tax reform since independence, will subsume excise, service tax and other local levies. The GST Council, which will decide on the rates, exemptions and threshold, will be set up after the Constitution Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament. Union Finance Minister would be the Chairman of the Council and state Finance Ministers would be its members. PTI/TST

18th july 2015
Registrar of societies caught taking Rs 10 lakh bribe in Delhi
Registrar of societies caught taking Rs 10 lakh bribe in Delhi The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) made a major dent in the Kejriwal government's claims of reducing corruption in the national capital. The agency on Friday arrested a registrar of firms and societies while accepting a bribe of Rs 10 lakh. CBI has registered a case under Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on registrar R S Tomar, who is also the deputy commissioner (industries). "The complainant alleged that Tomar was demanding a bribe of Rs one crore for certification of an executive committee of a society of plot holders' association. He had also promised to make the complainant president of the society," said CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad. Prasad said that the society, registered in 1978, has huge tracts of land, apart from substantial deposits in the bank. "Its executive committee was required to be certified by the registrar, which included the names of office bearers like president, secretary, etc. Complainant has alleged the accused told that he will not take less than Rs one crore and assured that the work would be done after payment," she said. Tomar directed the complainant to hand over Rs 10 lakh and make arrangements for the remaining Rs 90 lakh. CBI officials laid a trap and caught Tomar red-handed while accepting the bribe. Officials said that they will check the background of the officer and, if required, whether he had taken money from other societies in a similar manner. After the arrest, the CBI team searched Tomar's office and residential premises. He will be produced in court on Saturday for police custody. Source: The Times of India

17th july 2015
CBI announces Rs 25,000 reward on absconding Customs Assistant Commissioner
CBI announces Rs 25,000 reward on absconding Customs Assistant Commissioner Jaipur: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has announced a reward of Rs 25,000 on information leading to the arrest of absconding Customs Assistant Commissioner Sushil Kumar Pareek who is wanted in a case of graft. CBI Director Anil Kumar Sinha CBI Director Anil Kumar Sinha Pareek continued to evade CBI after his name figured in the case, which was booked against his boss Jaipur Customs Commissioner Pawan Kumar Jain on the charges of corruption. Sleuths of the investigation agency had arrested two private custom agents Sunil and Lalaram earlier this month while accepting a bribe of Rs 2 lakh allegedly on behalf of customs commissioner Jain and customs assistant commissioner Pareek, CBI inspector Narendra Singh said. In the complaint filed with the CBI, the complainant had alleged that customs commissioner Jain and customs assistant commissioner Pareek had demanded the bribe for release of imported goods seized in Jaipur, he said. Search is on to nab Pareek, one of the accused in the case, who went into hiding to evade arrest, Singh said. Source: TST

17th july 2015
File Lokpal property returns early: Govt to CSS officers
File Lokpal property returns early: Govt to CSS officers New Delhi: All central secretariat service (CSS) Officers have been asked to file details of their assets and liabilities, as mandated under the Lokpal Act, at the earliest to avoid last minute rush, the Centre said today. Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh "Filing of returns at the last moment by thousands of officers makes the system sluggish and leads to delay in filing of the returns. "In view of this, all Central Secretariat Service (CSS) Officers are requested to file the returns at the earliest without waiting for the last date to approach to avoid rush and slowing down of the system at the last moment," Office Memorandum No.21/2/2014-CS.I(PR/CMS) issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. The CSS, which forms backbone of central secretariat work, has a sanctioned strength of 11,467. The DoPT has asked all central government ministries to ensure filing of property returns by CSS officers working under their charge before the last date of October 15, 2015. The declarations under the Lokpal Act are in addition to the ones filed by the employees under various service rules applicable to them. As per the rules notified under the Lokpal Act, every public servant shall file details of assets and liabilities, including those of their spouse, as on March 31 every year, on or before July 31 of that year. For 2014, the last date for filing returns was September 15, which was later extended to December-end, then till April 30, and now up to October 15 this year. All Group A, B and C employees are supposed to file a declaration under the new rules. Employees need to give details like cash in hand, bank deposits, investment in bonds, debentures, shares and units in companies or mutual funds, insurance policies, provident fund, personal loans and advance given to any person or entity, among others. Source: TST

16th july 2015
Manual Scrutiny of Service Tax Returns from Aug 1: CBEC
Manual Scrutiny of Service Tax Returns from Aug 1: CBEC Seeking to strengthen compliance and verification, the CBEC has said that beginning August 1 it will start manual scrutiny of Service Tax returns of select assessees who have paid less than Rs 50 lakh of total tax during 2014-15. “The focus of the detailed manual scrutiny of the returns (of Service Tax) of those assessees which are not being audited. The detailed return scrutiny would be conducted in respect of such assessees whose total tax paid for 2014-15 is below Rs 50 lakh,” a CBEC Circular No.185/4/2015-Service Tax, dated June 30, said. However, the assessees who are subject to service tax audits would not be covered under the detailed scrutiny programme. “Small taxpayers, who usually do not fall within the ambit of service tax audits, may now be covered under the detailed scrutiny programme. With this, CBEC aims to strengthen the compliance verification mechanism,” tax consultancy firm Ernst&Young (EY) said. The selection of the asseessees for the purpose of manual scrutiny, CBEC said, would be made under three bands — where the Service Tax is paid up to Rs 10 lakh, Rs 10-25 lakh and Rs 25-50 lakh in 2014-15. The Central Board of Excise Customs (CBEC) said that a two part system of return scrutiny was envisaged — a preliminary scrutiny which would be online and a detailed manual scrutiny of select returns based on specified parameters. The circular said that the purpose of the preliminary scrutiny of returns is to ensure that complete and correct information has been furnished and the taxes have been paid timely. It would also help in identification of “non-filers and stop-filers”. The detailed manual scrutiny of Service Tax returns, CBEC said, would ensure correctness of the assessment made by the assessee. The Scrutiny Officer is required to reconcile information furnished in various Service Tax and Income Tax return forms and any available third party information, EY said. Source: TST

12th july 2015
Customs Additional Commissioner Booked In DA Case
Customs Additional Commissioner Booked In DA Case Mumbai: A Customs Additional Commissioner has recently been booked by CBI in a disproportionate assets (DA) case. Najib Shah acting CBEC Chairman, an honest man will to adopt strong policy to curb such type of corruption. The move came a year after the CBI sleuths found a bag full of the Customs official’s property documents during a raid at the home of an agent whom they were probing in another case. The agency was probing a senior Customs officer in Kolkata, who was allegedly involved in corruption. The agency team of Kolkata learnt that a Mumbai-based agent was supposed to collect money on the senior officer’s behalf. The CBI Kolkata team then asked their Mumbai counterparts for assistance. The CBI team in Mumbai had caught the agent last year. On searching the agent’s house, the team found several document related to the Kolkata case. Except for the bag full of property documents, the CBI Mumbai handed over all the papers to the Kolkata CBI team for further probe. The agent didn’t spill any beans about the Customs Additional Commissioner. He just told the CBI that the bag belonged to one of his friends who had kept it in his house of safety reasons. However, the CBI was not convinced with his reply. They learnt that the agent was hand-in-glove with many Customs officers and decided to go through the documents in the bag. After examining the documents, the CBI found that most of it belonged to the Customs Additional Commissioner. “The officer was posted at Nhava Sheva at that point of time. We suspected his involvement in corruption and decided to investigate him,” said a CBI officer. The agency conducted a discreet inquiry about the property details and found that the worth of the properties (documents found in the bag) was 30% more then the Custom officer’s known source of income. About a fortnight ago, the CBI registered the disproportionate assets (DA) case against the officer. The officer is presently posted in the city and the CBI will inform his department about the development. TNN/The SEN TIMES

4th july 2015
CBI produces arrested duo in graft case
CBI produces arrested duo in graft case JAIPUR: A day after CBI arrested two touts of customs commissioner Pavan Kumar Jain and assistant commissioner Sushil Kumar Pareek, the duo was produced in a court that sent them to four-day police custody for further interrogations. Pareek, who reportedly went into hiding after the trap on Friday continued to evade CBI sleuths on Saturday. Sources said that he could not be contacted on his mobile and his whereabouts were unknown. The CBI recovered a .32 bore pistol from his house and wrote to the Mansarovar police to verify if the gun was licensed. However, it was later determined that the gun was licensed. A person lodged a complaint against the customs officials when they demanded Rs 2 lakh from him to release goods that the customs department had seized. Jain allegedly asked the assistant commissioner Sushil Pareek to collect the bribe money. Pareek in turn asked two touts Sunil and Lalaram to get the bribe from the complainant. The duo was caught red-handed and arrested on Thursday night. "Sunil and Lalaram were produced in a special CBI court that sent them to four day police remand. The duo will be interrogated about the commissioner and assistant commissioner's involvement in corruption cases. It seems the officers had used the duo to take bribe in the past too," said an officer. CBI officials recovered documents pertaining to ownership of a piece of land and a house, jewellery worth Rs 6.26 lakh and some cash from the house of Pavan Kumar Jain. Documents of ownership of a locker, jewellery worth Rs 1.80 lakh and a plot were recovered from Pareek's house. CBI officials have been interrogating Jain for the past two days. CBI carried out searches at Jain's office, his official residence in JLN Road situated Income Tax Colony and his house in Delhi. Pareek's house is situated in Mansarovar's Kaveri Path. Lalaram was trapped while he was accepting bribe from CBI complainant at Jawahar Circle on Thursday night. Lalaram had been asked to go to Jawahar Circle by Sunil. Assistant commissioner Sushil had called Sunil to get the bribe money collected from the CBI complainant. Source: The Times of India , Jaipur

29th August 2014
Food safety & standards authority (FSSAI) creating hindrance in clearance of imported food items at various ports in India
Food safety & standards authority (FSSAI) creating hindrance in clearance of imported food items at various ports in India Delhi High Court In July 2014 has severely criticized Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for misusing law and procedure to extort money from importers of edible items including their raw materials in granting no objection certificates and warned that erring persons will be sent to jail. The court’s comments came during the hearing of the petition of M/s United Distributors Incorporation which had imported a consignment of chocolates from Belgium in January. According to Justice Manmohan, FSSAI officers, authorized to test the samples of imported edibles and grant NOC’s to customs department to release them to the importers, had been harassing in clearing the food articles and used their authority to extort money from importers. Similarly, Mumbai High Court in the case of M/s. Vital Nutraceuticals Pvt. Ltd. & Indian Drug Manufacturers Association Vs. UOI & FSSAI held that FSSAI had no authority to issue Advisory dated 16.05.13 on product approval under section 16 read with 18 & 22 of the FSS Act without following complete procedure. FSSAI Act 2006 was enacted to take care of international practices and provisions of single window to guide and regulate persons engaged in manufacture, marketing, processing, handling, transportation, import and sale of foods items with a view to encourage the nascent food industry. Amongst others, the main features of the Act are: (a) Licensing for manufacture of food products, which is presently granted by the Central Agencies under various Acts and Orders, would stand decentralized to the Commissioner of Foods Safety and his officer. (b) Single reference point for all matters relating to Food Safety and Standards, regulations and enforcement. (c) Shift from mere regulatory regime to self-compliance through Food Safety Management System. (d) Responsibility on food business operators to ensure that food processed, manufactured, imported or distributed is in compliance with the domestic food laws, and The above bill is contemporary, comprehensive and intends to ensure better consumer safety through Food Safety Management Systems and setting standards based on science and transparency as also to meet the dynamic requirements of Indian Food Trade and Industry and International trade. At present, the actual and practical impact of the said act is precisely the opposite and the persons who are implementing the provisions of the act and the rules made there under are trying to prove that they can apply the brakes to the clearance of goods related to the food industry and can hold the trading community to ransom. As on today the trading community and manufacturers using imported inputs are facing innumerable difficulties and hundreds of import containers are held up at various ports even after months and months of hold up. Sources say that the shipments are held up on frivolous and flimsy objections such as non labeling as per the particular manner, large number of samples are drawn including by opening the barrel/can resulting into rejection of the opened barrel/can by the buyer drawl of abnormally large and big samples, , repeated and frequent queries, shortage of staff, delay in acceptance of documents, delay in collection of samples, delay in sending the samples for testing, delay in testing, delay in receipt of test reports, further delay in forwarding the test reports to the importers and then delay by customs/custodians to release the goods. There is delay in every step of the procedure and this is a verifiable facts. The importers are forced either to re-export the goods or to abandon the goods in addition to suffering delays/ exorbitant storage charges and harassment by FSSAI. Further most of the food item/raw materials are to be stored at controlled temperature and have a limited shelf life. Such goods are normally imported by air and process involved is a very costly affair. The object of the act was to regulate and expedite importation of foods items and help the industry in a scientific manner, but the results is delays and blockage of food items. If the importers have to suffer exorbitant storage, demurrage charges these have to be passed on the ultimate consumer resulting into shortage of food items and inflation in the prices. As regards issue of licenses, the concerned department of FSSAI does not consider and does not issue the licenses for years together to actual users to facilitate smooth importation/clearance. Due to non clearance, the production lines have to be stopped causing further loss to the industry and nation as a whole. Further, the FSSAI staff at Head Office as well as Regional office behave arrogantly and no one is prepared to listen and solve the genuine problems of the importers. Sources say that importers of North India are being harassed and the shipments are not being cleared on one pretext or the other and the importers are forced to abandon the title of the goods under section 23 of Customs Act. In all the cases of surrender/abandonment of the imported goods, there is a loss to the Government too since the customs duty is not to be paid. In one such case. 22 containers of Orange Juice had to be abandoned at JNPT as there was delay in clearance and shelf life of the juice reduced to less than 60% of the total shelf life forcing non clearance of the goods by customs. Dozens of shipments had to be re-exported from major ports due to abnormal delay in clearance. Overall scene is very negative and depressing. The goods reach the consumer after delays when extra cost has been loaded and expiry date is nearing. These are all verifiable facts but, no importer can afford to lodge a personal complaint for the fear of being singled out as a black sheep and punishment. The time has come for the Govt. to intervene in an effective manner and control the inefficient and unprofessional working of FSSAI at various ports which is detrimental to the growth of the nascent food industry. Implementation of the Act by FSSAI does not fulfill the objective of the Act, and its activities are not in public interest besides avoidable loss in revenue, huge delays shortage of edible goods, loading of value for the consumer, elapsing of expiry period besides adverse reputation of the country. There is need to minimize the role and interference by FSSAI by prescribing time bound procedure. Various Commissionerates have already issued Public Notices enabling testing of samples from imported goods by reputed labs other than by FSSAI to drastically cut the delays, but it is too less and too late.

13thjuly 2014
Excise commissioner held for molestation
Excise commissioner held for molestation TNN | Jul 12, 2014, 10.41AM IST VADODARA: The excise commissioner, who had been on the run for the last four days, surrendered before the city police on Friday morning. Central excise commissioner (tax arrears recovery) S S Sharma was accused of molesting a nine-year-old girl on July 4 when she was alone at her home. The survivor's mother, who works as a cook at Sharma's place, told the police that the accused entered her home and molested her daughter. When the victim raised an alarm, the accused fled from the spot. The girl's parents wrote to the chief commissioner, Central Excise, on the same day, but didn't get any response. The parents then registered a first information report against Sharma with Gotri police station on July 7. Sharma had gone missing after the police complaint was registered. Sharma appeared before ACP (Control) on Monday and was arrested immediately. Interestingly, the police didn't seek remand of Sharma, who is a senior officer in Central Excise department. He was sent to judicial custody by the court. "We arrested Sharma and produced him before the court. We didn't seek remand as there was no reason for it. There was no requirement of medical examination and identification of Sharma and nothing to recover from him," city police commissioner Satish Sharma said.

13thjuly 2014
Excise commissioner held for molestation
Excise commissioner held for molestation TNN | Jul 12, 2014, 10.41AM IST VADODARA: The excise commissioner, who had been on the run for the last four days, surrendered before the city police on Friday morning. Central excise commissioner (tax arrears recovery) S S Sharma was accused of molesting a nine-year-old girl on July 4 when she was alone at her home. The survivor's mother, who works as a cook at Sharma's place, told the police that the accused entered her home and molested her daughter. When the victim raised an alarm, the accused fled from the spot. The girl's parents wrote to the chief commissioner, Central Excise, on the same day, but didn't get any response. The parents then registered a first information report against Sharma with Gotri police station on July 7. Sharma had gone missing after the police complaint was registered. Sharma appeared before ACP (Control) on Monday and was arrested immediately. Interestingly, the police didn't seek remand of Sharma, who is a senior officer in Central Excise department. He was sent to judicial custody by the court. "We arrested Sharma and produced him before the court. We didn't seek remand as there was no reason for it. There was no requirement of medical examination and identification of Sharma and nothing to recover from him," city police commissioner Satish Sharma said.

10th July 2014
Arun Jaitley presents Bold Budget in Parliament
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented keenly watched Budget in Parliament which is expected to give a boost to several sectors including infra and manufacturing. In Union Budget 2014-15 presented by FM there is no change in income tax rates, surcharge and educational cess. To provide relief to small and marginal tax payers, personal income tax exemption limit is being raised from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh. For senior citizens, the exemption limit will be Rs. 3 lakh. The investment limit under Section 80C of the Income-tax Act is being raised from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh. Deduction limit for interest on housing loan (for self-occupied house property) goes up from Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh. Free baggage allowance is hiked to Rs. 45000; it is Rs. 35000 at present. It is proposed to provide investment allowance at the rate of 15 percent to a manufacturing company that invests more than Rs. 25 crore in any year in new plant and machinery. This benefit will be available for three years i.e. for investments upto 31.03.2017. The scheme announced last year, to provide investment allowance to manufacturing companies investing more than Rs. 100 crore in plant and machinery will continue till March, 2015. Investment linked deduction is being extended to two new sectors, namely, slurry pipelines for the transportation of iron ore, and semi-conductor wafer fabrication manufacturing units. Ten-year tax holiday is being proposed to the undertakings which begin generation, distribution and transmission of power by 31.03.2017. This long-term measure will help the investors to plan their investments better. On Direct Tax Code , the Government will consider the comments received from stakeholders. It will review the DTC in its present shape and take a view in the whole matter. With a view to transition towards Goods and Services Tax (GST) changes in service tax have been kept at the minimum. The focus is on widening the tax base and enhancing compliance. It is proposed to prune the negative list and exemptions. Services by air-conditioned contract carriages and technical testing of newly developed drugs on human participants are being brought under service tax. Services provided by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation for the period prior to 1st July 2012 will now be exempt from service tax. Service tax on loading, unloading, storage, warehousing and transportation of cotton, whether ginned or baled, will also be exempt from service tax. The Budget has a number of proposals for tax facilitation and dispute resolution. For income tax facilitation, 60 new Aykar Seva Kendras will be opened in 2014-15. Indirect tax facilitation measures include opening 24×7 customs clearance facility in 13 more airports in respect of all export goods and in 14 more sea ports in respect of specified import and export goods. It is also proposed to implement an ‘Indian Customs Single Window Project’ to facilitate trade. The scheme of Advance Ruling in Indirect Taxes is being extended to cover resident private limited companies and the scope of Settlement Commission is being enlarged to facilitate quick dispute resolution. Amendments are proposed in the Customs and Central Excise Acts with a view to freeing Appellate Authorities for fast disposal of appeals. In order to reduce litigation on transfer pricing issues, a number of changes are proposed in Transfer Pricing Regulations. To remove uncertainty in taxation of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and to encourage their fund managers to shift to India, the Budget proposes to provide that income arising to them from transaction in securities will be treated as capital gains. In order to augment low cost foreign borrowings by Indian companies, the eligible date of borrowing is being extended up to 30/06/2017 for availing concessional tax rate on interest payments. Tax rates have been rationalized where needed, and made favourable to certain sectors to boost their growth. Basic customs duty is being reduced on fatty acids, oils, glycerine, petrochemicals, certain wind energy equipment etc. Cathode ray TVs, LCD and LED TV panels of below-19 inches and certain inputs used in solar power equipment are being fully exempted from basic customs duty. The Budget proposes rationalization of duties relating to different types of coal, scrap and diamond items. Excise duty is proposed to be reduced on specified food processing and packaging machinery, footwear of retail price up to Rs. 1000 per pair and sports gloves. A number of items in use in renewable energy industry are proposed to be exempted from excise duty. Duty on a number of electronics items is being rationalized or reduced. The FM has proposed to mobilize resources by increasing excise duty on cigarettes, pan masala, gutka, chewing tobacco and aerated waters containing added sugar. Clean energy cess will now be levied at higher rates on coal, peat and lignite. Import of smart card will now attract higher CVD. Imported flat-rolled stainless steel products will attract a higher basic customs duty. The direct tax proposals will result in net revenue loss of Rs. 22,200 crore and indirect tax proposals, revenue yield of Rs. 7,525 crore.

25th April 2014
No blanket immunity for conducting sting: SC
The CBI registered an FIR on the basis of a news report in The Indian Express on November 16, 2003. Express News Service | New Delhi In a ruling that could push journalists and others conducting sting operations to tread with caution, the Supreme Court Thursday said those behind such operations could not get blanket immunity from criminal prosecution if their actions showed that they had prima facie committed a crime. Their acts shall not stand obliterated only by a clamour that what they did was in the larger public good, it held. The ruling by a bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam is considered significant as there is no law to regulate sting operations in the country. The verdict has a direct bearing on cases where monetary allurement or other favours are offered to “expose” a person. The court dealt with questions whether the person conducting the sting should be held liable for a crime which is inseparable from the entire process, or should be exonerated since the act aimed to expose the main offender in a serious crime harmful to the public interest. The court also considered the question whether the initial crime by the person conducting the sting should be understood to be without any criminal intent, and only to facilitate the commission of the other crime by the “main culprit”. “The answer to the above, in our considered view would depend, as in any criminal case, on the facts and circumstances thereof. A crime does not stand obliterated or extinguished merely because its commission is claimed to be in public interest. Any such principle would be abhorrent to our criminal jurisprudence,” ruled the bench which also comprised Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana. The court said that issues of criminal liability will have to be established after evidence is included. “The inherent possibilities of abuse of the operation as videographed, namely, retention and use thereof to ensure delivery of the favours assured by the receiver of the bribe has to be excluded before liability can be attributed or excluded. This can happen only after the evidence of witnesses is recorded,” it noted. to help us personalise your reading experience. The court emphasised intention was the most important element in such cases and hence a journalist or any other person, who has no connection, even remotely, with the favour that is allegedly sought in exchange for the bribe offered, cannot be imputed with the necessary intent to commit the crime of abetment or conspiracy. Maintaining that the illustrations cannot be exhaustive and a deeper probe may be required if the trial judge deems it fit, the court said that a full-fledged trial may be conducted in cases where the person conducting the sting prima facie had a stake in the favours that were allegedly sought in return for the bribe offered. The ruling upholds the CBI’s stand that a person, who does a sting operation on the sly to expose a “corrupt” public official, is liable to be charged with the crime of abetting corruption. Abetment of corruption fetches a punishment of a maximum of five years in jail and a fine under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The verdict came as the court junked a petition by Raja Prasad, a businessman, and Arvind Vijay Mohan, a journalist, who were charged with abetment of corruption and conspiracy for taking part in a sting operation in 2003, in which the then union minister for environment and forests, Dilip Singh Judeo, was caught on camera accepting Rs 9 lakh in a hotel room in New Delhi. The CBI registered an FIR on the basis of a news report in The Indian Express on November 16, 2003. The money was allegedly given on the pretext of obtaining favours from Judeo for mining projects in Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. It was, however, alleged by Prasad that the sting was the result of a conspiracy hatched by Amit Jogi, son of Ajit Jogi, the then chief minister of Chhattisgarh, to disgrace Judeo just before the Chhattisgarh assembly elections so that Ajit Jogi could derive political mileage.

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