I-T notice irks Team Anna
I didn’t violate bond conditions, says former IRS officer Kejriwal
The income tax department has slapped a notice on civil right activist Arvind Kejriwal for recovery of over Rs 9 lakh.
Team Anna reacted sharply, attacking the Union Government for it and alleging that the government was indulging in dirty tricks to muzzle the voice against corruption.
Members of Team Anna –Prashant Bhushan, Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi–in a press meet said that income tax officials were being pressurised by political bosses to act against him (Kejriwal).
The Office of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax had on August 5 issued a notice to Kejriwal, a former IRS officer, asking him to pay Rs 9.27 lakh dues, 11 days ahead of Hazare’s fast demanding a strong Lokpal.
Kejriwal said he had taken a study leave on full pay for two years from November 1, 2000 and rejoined office on November 1, 2002 after signing a bond that he would refund the salary if he resigns or retires or fails to resume duty within three years of his study leave.
“I completed three years on October 1, 2003 and I resigned only in February 2006. There is no question of my violating any bond condition,’’ he said. He later proceeded on unpaid leave between 2004 and 2006. In 2006 he submitted voluntary resignation, but the government did not accept this saying that he violated service conditions.
His resignation, according to the government, can be accepted only once the dues were cleared.
Countering the government claim, Kejriwal said that he had not violated any conditions as he had rejoined after study leave and stayed in the job for more than three years thereafter. He questioned the timing of the notice, being pursued after a lull of more than two years. Kejriwal said, “ instead of my paying the dues to the government, they (government ) have to pay me Provident Fund which was around Rs 4 lakh. Though I have been asking the government to clear the dues, the government has been sitting on the file instead seeking money from me.” He alleged that the government was using intelligence services to check his and his close family members’ background and may attempt to tarnish their image.
Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed insisted that it was unfair that charges were being made against government departments. “If they feel that there is something that is not justified, there is a system which they can approach. If we had not done that, the media would have asked why we are soft on some particular person.”