Weeding out the corrupt: Tribunal upholds IRS officer’s sacking

By: |
December 17, 2020 7:45 AM

The 1990-batch IRS officer Pramod Kumar Bajaj was among 85 officials who have been removed from the service by the government over the past few years. Bajaj had moved the tribunal challenging the action citing relief given to him by other benches of CAT earlier in cases of alleged wrongdoings.

Additionally, Bajaj was accused of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. His ex-wife had also accused that he had indulged in bigamy by marrying another woman without divorcing the then legal spouse.

In what has come as a shot in the arm for the government in its drive to weed out corrupt and under-performing officials, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) last week upheld compulsory retirement of an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer under the relevant rules.

The 1990-batch IRS officer Pramod Kumar Bajaj was among 85 officials who have been removed from the service by the government over the past few years. Bajaj had moved the tribunal challenging the action citing relief given to him by other benches of CAT earlier in cases of alleged wrongdoings.

The tribunal said that the official’s conduct had “reached a stage that it was no longer feasible for the government to continue him in service and in fact, he turned out to be a menace to the department”. It added that the scope for judicial review in cases under Fundamental Rule 56(j) was very limited and no interference was warranted in the particular case.

Fundamental Rule 56 (j) empowers the government to retire the employees, in case of group-A and B, who cross 50 years of age on compulsory basis, if it is found that their continuance is not in public interest.

“If one carefully examines the sequence of events, particularly those in the past 4 or 5 years in respect of the applicant, the inescapable conclusion is that it is only the applicant, if at all any one, who forced the respondents to take recourse to Rule 56 (j),” the order said.

Bajaj was removed from service last year in September owing to allegations against him which included seeking bribes and poor quality of orders passed by him as the commissioner of income tax (CIT). A vigilance inspection had also noted large number of irregularities in his conduct.

Further, Bajaj was also included in the ‘Agreed List’ for the year 2018 jointly by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The list is prepared by various government departments in consultation with CBI to include officials against whom complaint of corruption has been received. These officials are kept under a discreet watch.

Additionally, Bajaj was accused of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. His ex-wife had also accused that he had indulged in bigamy by marrying another woman without divorcing the then legal spouse.

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