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CBDT seeks to enlist I-T officers in its probe team

Facing a ‘serious’ manpower crunch to investigate fraudulent and ‘serious irregularities’ on account of demonetisation, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra has in an internal letter sought to rope in income tax inspectors to assist the investigation team.
In the letter, reviewed by Business Standard ,addressed to all principal chief commissioners, Chandra has highlighted that the investigation team was ‘seriously handicapped’ due to manpower shortage.
“Investigation Directorates have intensified enforcement actions in detecting serious irregularities. They are, however, seriously handicapped because of non-availability of manpower,” the CBDT chief said in the letter.
He added that the current investigation and enforcement drive was likely to continue in the coming weeks.
Chandra recommended reorganisation of work by the field formations, which could spare a few officers for investigation. He asked the principal chief commissioners to identify such officers and income tax inspectors and ‘make them available to the Directors General of Income Tax (Investigation), or DGIT (Inv).
While the income tax department has a sanctioned strength of about 60,000, about 15,000 are part of the investigation team. There are 9,490-odd income tax inspectors, who only assist the income tax officers or joint commissioners to carry out assessment. But now, these inspectors will likely report to the investigation team. There are 14 Director Generals under DGIT (Investigation) — Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna and Pune.
The DGIT (Inv) is the revenue enforcement agency of the CBDT. The two income tax associations — Income Tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association — in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that they were “totally demotivated due to huge shortage of manpower”. They pointed out that there are 30-35 per cent of vacancies at ‘cutting-edge positions’ like Additional Commissioner of I-T and Deputy Commissioner of I-T, their junior ranks and others.
The investigation department of income tax has cracked down on the number of money laundering and gold rackets operating across the country, fraudulently converting black money into white for a commission since the legal tender of ~500 and ~1,000 notes was withdrawn.
The income tax sleuths have nabbed offenders and recovered cash worth several crores in crackdowns in various parts of the country including Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Nagpur.
Since November 8, the department has detected more than ~1,500 crore of undisclosed income during surveys and searches and around ~120 crore has been seized so far.
After investigation wing, the spotlight will likely turn to the assessment officers. According to the sanctioned strength of the income tax department, there are 7,294 assessment officers up to the additional commissioner’s level, which includes 4,204 income tax officers who assess returns filed by taxpayers. The additional commissioners and joint commissioners handle 3040 quality cases a year, while the income tax officers assess 100-150 cases a year, but smaller ones.
Business Standard New Delhi,14th December 2016


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