Category Archives: Governance

CBI arrests EPFO enforcement officer

Newsroom24x7 Staff

cbiPune: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested an Enforcement Officer of Employee’s Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) from Golibar Maidan in Pune (Maharashtra) and a private person in a bribery case.

A case was registered against the Enforcement Officer of EPFO, Golibar Maidan, Pune under section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on a complaint alleging demand of Rs. 8000 as bribe for verification of registration documents. The complainant requested the accused to reduce the bribe amount and the officer agreed to reduce it to Rs. 5,000.

The accused told the complainant to handover the documents and the bribe money to a Consultant. CBI laid a trap and the Consultant was caught while demanding and accepting the bribe amount of Rs. 5,000 on behalf of the public servant. During further investigation, the Enforcement Officer was also arrested. Searches were conducted at the premises of the accused and the concerned file and other incriminating documents were recovered.

The arrested accused were produced today before the Court of Special Judge in Pune and remanded to 3 days police custody.

Modi reiterates commitment to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: On the first anniversary of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. He also gave the assurance to the people that the goal is to “build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters.”

In a letter to the people to mark his one year in office, the PM has said: “We assumed office at a time when confidence in the India story was waning. Un-abated corruption and indecisiveness had paralyzed the government. People had been left helpless against ever climbing inflation and economic insecurity.”

Stressing that urgent and decisive action was needed, the Prime Minister said runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable, policy-driven proactive governance. Discretionary allotment of our precious natural resources to a chosen few was replaced with transparent auctions. Firm steps were taken against Black Money, from setting up an SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same.

Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, has ensured a corruption-free government Modi has stated in his letter adding significant changes have been brought about in work culture, nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well breaking of silos. State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India. Most importantly, we have been able to restore Trust in the government, he has pointed out.

The PM has underscored the achievements of his government by stating that guided by the principle of Antyodaya, his Government is dedicated to the poor, marginalized and those left behind. He has further said in his letter: ‘We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty. Numerous measures and schemes have been initiated – from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS; from providing a vaccination cover to our children to initiating a people-driven Swachh Bharat mission; from ensuring a minimum pension to our labourers to providing social security to the common man; from enhancing support to our farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO; from empowering one and all with self attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people’s banks; from universalizing the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses; from irrigating fields to rejuvenating the Ganga River; from moving towards 24×7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail; from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities, and from connecting the North-East to prioritizing development of Eastern India.
In another letter to the people on economic issues, the PM said:

One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot. Economic growth has been revived, and is among the fastest in the world. Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased. This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world.

Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented. Diesel prices have been decontrolled. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is slated to be introduced next year. By facilitating companies to Make in India through a focus on Ease of Doing Business, new jobs are being created. Cooking gas subsidies are being paid directly to beneficiary bank accounts under PAHAL – ensuring the right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time. FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production have been raised. Moreover, we have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.

Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past. Transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilized potential revenues of Rs. 3.35 lakh crores to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process. To combat black money, a Special Investigation Team has been appointed and a new stringent law passed.

Nearly Rs. 1 lakh crores of public investment have been allocated in this year’s budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity. A comprehensive transformation of the railways into a locomotive of growth has begun. Stalled highway projects are being restructured and revived. Power generation is at an all-time high. A new National Infrastructure Investment Fund has been set up with an annual government funding of Rs. 20,000 crores.

Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent ‘peace clause’ at the WTO. The world’s largest financial inclusion project has brought banking to the doorsteps of the poor, opening a record 15 crore plus bank accounts with deposits of over Rs. 15,800 crores. An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance, has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week. MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs. 20,000 crores to help our small businessmen, who despite being our biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit.

A lot has been achieved. However, this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high. A year ago I gave you my word that while I might perhaps commit errors, I would always act with pure intentions and spend every available moment working for a better India. I have kept my word. I seek your continued support, suggestions and blessings in building the India of our dreams.

Former Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax gets jail sentence

Newsroom24x7 Staff

bribeNew Delhi: The Special Judge for CBI Cases, Saket Court, New Delhi on Thursday sentenced Arun Kumar Gurjar, a former Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi and Baljeet Singh, an ex-Inspector of Income Tax, Delhi to undergo four years Rigorous Imprisonment with fine of Rs.200,000 each in a bribery case.

CBI had registered a case on 29 December 2010 on the allegations that Arun Kumar Gurjar, who was then Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Range-29, IP Estate New Delhi, was invlved in a criminal conspiracy with Baljeet Singh the then Inspector of Income Tax, and demanding bribe of Rs. 500,000 from the partner of a private firm based at Naya Bazar in Delhi to finalize the assessment case of his firm without any hurdle. A trap was laid and both the accused were caught red-handed while accepting Rs. 2,00,000 from the Complainant as part payment of bribe money on 29 December 2010. Consequent to investigation, a charge-sheet was filed against the two accused in the designated Court on 30 December 2011. During trial, the prosecution examined 23 witnesses.

The Trial Court found both the accused guilty and convicted them under section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 & Section 120-B of Indian Penal Code (IPC), on 20 May 2015.

A repetitive action by CBEC reflects poor supervision and critical waste of working hours

Lalit Shastri

CBECHow instructions issued by important Government of India authorities are put on the shelf and they end up gathering dust gets amply reflected by the fact that the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) had to send instructions earlier this month to all Chief Commissioners of Central Excice, Customs and Service Tax to remind them that SLPs before Supreme Court should not be filed in cases where revenue is below the threshold limit as specified through Board’s instructions issued earlier [F.No.390/Misc./163/2010-JC dated 17 August 2011] to define the monetary limits for filing of appeals before CESTAT, High Court and the Supreme Court.

The CBEC Instructions of 17 August 2011 came into force on 1 September 2011.

CBEC Director (Legal) Rajendra Kumar, shot a letter on 15 May to all Chief Commissioners of Central Excice, Customs and Service Tax telling them that the Board has been receiving proposals for filing of SLPs against High Court orders in Supreme Court from various field formations wherein the amount involved happens to be below the latest threshold limit as prescribed in the 17 August 2011 instructions.

The field bosses have been told by CBEC – through Rajendra Kumar’s letter – that the matter has been examined and the Board has decided that no SLP against the High Court’s order can be filed before the Supreme Court in case the amount involved is below the threshold limit as prescribed in the 17 August 2011 instructions, except in two categories of cases:

a) Where the constitutional validity of the provisions of an Act or Rule is under challenge; and
b) Where Notification/Instruction/Order or Circular has been held to be illegal or ultra vires.
There was zero ambiguity in the CBEC instruction of 17 August 2011. It clearly stated:

“For ascertaining whether a matter would be covered within or without the aforementioned limits, the determinative element would be duty/tax under dispute. To illustrate it further in a case involving duty of Rs. 5 lakhs or below with equal penalty and interest, as the case may be, no appeal shall be filed in the Tribunal. Similarly, no appeal shall be filed in the High Courts if the duty involved does not exceed Rs.10 lakhs with or without penalty and interest. Further, the Commissionerates shall not send proposal to the Board for filing Civil Appeal or Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court in a case involving duty up to Rs.25 lakhs, whether with penalty and interest or otherwise. However, where the imposition of penalty is the subject matter of dispute and the said penalty exceeds the limit prescribed, then the matter could be litigated further. Similarly, where the subject matter of dispute is the demand of interest and the amount of interest exceeds the prescribed limit, then the matter may require further litigation.

The 2011 instructions, in the first instance, while prescribing the limits for filing SLP, already spelled out in clear terms: “where the subject matter of dispute is the demand of interest and the amount of interest exceeds the prescribed limit, then the matter may require further litigation, adverse judgments relating to the following should be contested irrespective of the amount involved:

a) Where the constitutional validity of the provisions of an Act or Rule is under challenge. and

b) Where Notification/ Instruction/ Order or Circular has been held illegal or ultra vires

To reduce the number of Government litigation before CESTAT/High Courts and Supreme court, monetary limits were fixed for filing appeals and the field foramtions were instructed in this egard by CBEC in August 2011. The monetary limit fixed for CESTAT is Rs.5,00,000. For High Courts it is Rs.10,00,000 and for Supreme Court Rs.25,00,000

The prevailing confusion at the level of Commissionerates dealing with Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax in a matter that was already resolved through instructions passed in August 2011 puts a question mark on the efficiency and working of the field formations reporting to the CBEC.