Govt in process of weeding out bad elements from bureaucracy

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New Delhi (IANS) Government employees facing criminal or corruption cases are under a scanner of the Modi administration which is in the process of weeding out bad elements from the bureaucracy as part of efforts to ensure high integrity and standards.

Since June this year, shortly after the Modi government took charge for the second term, at least 64 employees, including commissioner-rank officers, have been compulsorily retired by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on various charges, including corruption.

More such actions are expected in the future as the central government is reviewing the annual confidential reports and other details of its employees, particularly those facing criminal or corruption cases, officials said.

The Central government has asked all the Cadre Controlling Authorities to establish a mechanism to identify the "dead wood" and compulsorily retire them after thorough examination of their service records.

"The Centre has written to states to prepare a list of officers who are facing charges of misconduct or allegations of corruption," a senior officer said.

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, which is the cadre-controlling authority for the IAS officers, is also preparing a list of tainted officers for their removal from service in a phased manner.

A similar exercise is being carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs.

The officer said if need be, the service rules can be amended or administrative instructions may be issued for removing such tainted officers.

"A list has been prepared by most of the ministries and also by the Cadre-Controlling Authorities and names will be announced in a phased manner," said the officer.

For compulsory retirement of officers of IAS, IPS, IFS and other services, Rule 16(3) of the All India Services Rules, 1958, which was amended on January 31, 2012, is applicable.

The officers, compulsorily retired by CBDT since June under Fundamental Rule 56 (J),

faced charges of corruption, smuggling and even criminal conspiracy.

The latest was last month, when CBDT compulsorily retired 15 senior officials.

In June this year, 12 senior income tax officers, including one of the rank of joint commissioner, were shown the door.

The government has also directed the federal investigative agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED), and others to identify corrupt officials and dismiss them on urgent note.

Some top NIA officials are under scanner after incidents of corruption raised the eyebrows in the Prime Minister Office (PMO).

Ironically, when the country is fighting war against terrorism, some NIA officers,

tasked to investigate such crimes, were busy taking bribes.

In August this year, three NIA officers, including a superintendent of police (SP), were transferred after a Delhi-based business complained that they were pressurising him to pay Rs 2 crore in bribes to exempt him from a case involving Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

Officials in Enforcement Directorate (ED), the country's federal financial investigating agency, are also under the radar following complaints of "running an extortion racket".

The government is putting up a "strong mechanism to check accountability" of the central intelligence agencies officials, who have extensively accesses to source money.

Giving a glimpse about the government's intent was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day address, in which he said his government is waging a war against corruption.

"Some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers and harassed taxpayers, either by targeting honest assessees or by taking excessive action for minor or procedural violations. We have recently taken the bold step of compulsorily retiring a significant number of tax officials, and we will not tolerate this type of behaviour," he had said.

The government action against tax officials assumes significance as there have been complaints, including from the corporates, tax officials are harassing business people and this is one of the reasons for the economic slowdown.

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