Hyderabad: Five senior income tax officers from the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been forced to retire before their superannuation following corruption charges. They are among the 21 Group B tainted tax officers who have been ordered to retire.

Income Tax Officer (ITO) Rajasiri (IAP) from Rajahmundry has been shown the door following corruption charges. She had been caught accepting a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh. The officer also holds assets disproportionate to her known sources of income, in the name of herself and her family members.

B Srinivasa Rao from Visakhapatnam is the second officer who has been retired. He was trapped by the Central Bureau of Investigation for demanding and accepting illegal gratification. The CBI recovered Rs 75,000 from his office in addition to Rs 30,000 during the trap operation.

G Venkateswara Rao, an ITO from Hyderabad was caught accepting a bribe, while tax officer Lakshmi Neeraja was found using an auditor, identified as N Shivakumar, to receive bribes from taxpayers.

However, the highly corrupt of all proved to be P Venkateswara Rao, ITO, from Vishakapatnam who caught accepting an eye-popping Rs 65 lakh as bribe.

With the latest round of cleansing, 85 officers including 64 high-ranking tax officers have been compulsorily retired under the Fundamental Rule 56(J) in this year. The list includes 12 officers from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The CBDT on September 27 had forcefully retired 15 officers of the ranks of the principal commissioner, joint commissioner and additional commissioner under Fundamental Rule 56 (J) due to corruption, CBI traps and other charges.

The action against the corrupt officials comes after an address by the Prime Minister in which he said, “Some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers and harassed taxpayers, either by targeting honest assesses 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.”

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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