Saturday December 16, 2017
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KV Chowdary appointed new CVC, Vijai Sharma new CIC

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CIC KV Chowdary
CIC KV Chowdary
CIC KV Chowdary

New Delhi: Former Central Board of Direct Taxation chief K.V. Chowdary has been appointed the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), it was announced here on Monday.

T.M. Bhasin, chairman and managing director of the public sector Indian Bank, has been appointed vigilance commissioner, an official release said.

Seniormost Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma was named the new Chief Information Commissioner, said informed sources

The post of CVC had been lying vacant since Pradeep Kumar retired on September 28 last year, while the post of vigilance commissioner was also unfilled since incumbent J.M. Garg completed his tenure on September 7 last year.

Chowdary, a 1979 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, has also headed many high-profile income tax probes, including that of the 2G spectrum allocation case and the HSBC Geneva taxpayers’ list.

The appointments have been made for a term of four years from the date(s) on which the officials enter upon their office(s) or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, the release added.

The government was under attack from the opposition for delaying the appointments and various RTI activists had also questioned the delay. (IANS)

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RK Mathur appointed as new Chief Information Commissioner

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New Delhi: RK Mathur, the defence secretary has been appointed for the post of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). He will be the second longest serving CIC, serving for three years.

The eighth CIC cleared the high-level selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday and approved by President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday.

The new CIC’s appointment will also kill any chance whatsoever of most senior IC Basant Seth, who will be completing his tenure by February 15, 2017, much before Mathur’s on November 24, 2018.

From the time when the first CIC, Wajahat Habibulla was appointed it has been a convention to appoint the senior IC as CIC. Mathur is not only junior but also a fresh face on the panel.

“Seniority had become a convention. It was not a rule. The government has every right to select anybody as CIC considering his eligibility.” said Habibulla, defending the selection.

Since the new CIC is not a part of the present group of information commissioners, no new IC was not appointed because the Delhi High Court has asked the government to fill vacancies of the three commissioners from among the old applicants who applied last year and a plea against which is pending in the Supreme Court. The plea will be heard on January 4.

“I have not received the order yet, so I would not speak for now.” said Mathur.

The reasons behind the selection of a new CIC from “outside” was that the government needed a person who is there for a sufficient time so that frequent selection processes can be avoided.

The position of a CIC is equivalent to Chief Justice of India and Chief Election Commissioner and is appointed for five years or till the age of 65, whichever is earlier.

Mathur’s appointment has made the information commissioners unhappy. One of the commissioners said, “The reason of motivation for the commissioners has gone now. Why should we work hard if we have no chance of being elevated to the top post?”(IANS)

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Integrate CVC, CBI with Lokpal: Parliament panel

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New Delhi: A parliamentary panel on Monday recommended integration of the CVC and the CBI with the institution of Lokpal.

“Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be fully integrated with the Lokpal and the institution of anti-corruption watchdog be architecturally created vertically with the Lokpal at the apex level and CVC and anti- corruption wing of CBI fully integrated with it and working under its control,” the recommendation said.

The suggestion was made by the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice in its 77th report on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

The committee, which submitted its report to parliament, was of the view that the post of director of enquiry in the CVC can be utilised by the Lokpal.

“Director of Enquiry available in the CVC would serve as the director of enquiry of Lokpal and there is no need for the creation of a separate post of director of enquiry in the Lokpal,” the panel headed by E M S Natchiappan said in one of its recommendations.

The committee also recommended that the post of director of the prosecution should be upgraded to the level of a secretary with a fixed tenure.

It favoured the existing provisions for the declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants, recommending that a public servant should furnish the declaration of assets and liabilities of his or her dependents, including spouse, children, father and mother.

The committee recommended that the secretary to the Lokpal should be of the rank and status of the secretary to the government of India so that he is not influenced by his seniors or colleagues from the civil services and is able to function independently.

(IANS)

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Assets worth Rs.4,147 crore disclosed under black money compliance window

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Photo: www.thewhy.com

New Delhi: The Union government on Monday announced that the total worth of declaration of assets made under the black money compliance window is ₹4,417 crore by 638 declarants.

An official statement said that the assets worth ₹3,770 crore ($580 million) declared under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, were subject to a final reconciliation.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters here that the final quantum of declarations showed some change, though the number of declarants remained the same.

“Some envelopes (declarations), that came from various places, reached us after the last date and the total amount shows some difference at ₹4,147 crore, although the number of declarants remains the same,” Adhia said at a press conference along with other secretaries of the finance ministry and chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian.

The law provides for a compliance window for declaring and paying penalty. Failure to meet the compliance timeline will attract an additional penalty of 90 percent for a total tax liability of 120 percent on the quantum of black money stashed abroad.

September 30 was the last date under the amnesty scheme, that called for a tax of 30 percent and an equal amount in penalty, that is to be paid before December 31.

The black money act, for the first time, allows levy of tax in India on assets kept abroad.

The Income Tax department has filed 132 prosecutions against 42 cases whose names have appeared in the HSBC Geneva bank list, Adhia said.

This move followed the Supreme Court last year, giving a list of 628 entities in the HSBC Geneva branch, furnished to it in a sealed envelope by the government, to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted in May last year.

The revenue secretary said the tax department is now more actively pursuing penalties and prosecutions with better access to information allowed by treaties like FATCA with the US and the taxation agreements India has with 96 countries.

“Our request for (tax) information from other countries has doubled over the last fiscal. 1,600 requests went out in 2014-15, as compared to 800 the year before,” Adhia said.

At the G20 nations Brisbane summit last November, the leaders endorsed a new global transparency standard by which more than 90 jurisdictions will begin automatic exchange of tax information, using a common reporting standard by 2017-18.

“A common reporting standard multilateral agreement is being discussed. Some countries, including India, have already agreed on its early adoption from 2017,” Adhia said.

India has no official estimate about the quantum of black money stashed away by Indians abroad, but unofficial estimate puts it somewhere between $466 billion and $1.4 trillion.

(IANS)