Row over I-T official's letter to DGP on ACB jurisdiction

Row over I-T official's letter to DGP on ACB jurisdiction
A letter by the Director-General Income Tax (Investigation) to the state DGP “reminding” him about the jurisdiction on a possible raid on income tax officials by the state Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has kicked up a row.

A fortnight ago, Director General of Income Tax B R Balakrishnan had written to the state DGP&IGP Rupak Kumar Dutta claiming to have “credible” information that ACB was planning to raid some I-T officials. In the letter, Balakrishnan had mentioned that ACB does not have the jurisdiction to raid Central government employees.

Dutta has replied to Balakrishnan’s letter asking him to cross-check his information on the “plans to raid”, and maintained that the state police will function within the framework of the law.

Sources said that in his letter, Balakrishnan also stated that on finding any illegality or corrupt practices by an I-T employee, a state agency like ACB could pass on the information to the chief of the Income Tax Department or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) “as per procedure”.

The letter stated that the ACB had prepared a list of I-T officials to be raided. Sources said the income tax official could have been referring to an alert in this regard received by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). A senior police official from the state police department said that the reply to Balakrishnan’s letter was sent immediately by denying any meeting or planning to raid income tax officials in the state.

However, the jurisdiction issue has created a row. A senior ACB official claimed that the state ACB has the power to raid, trap any public servant under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. “Prevention of Corruption Act is a Central Act and it defines all government servants as public servants. By convention, matters pertaining to Central government employees, except income tax employees, are left to the CBI. But there is no bar on the state police to book cases against Central government employees under the PC Act,’’ the official said, adding that it was, in fact, the IT department official who bypassed the protocol by writing directly to the state DGP. He said that according to protocol, the I-T department should have written to the Union Finance Ministry about the information it received and then the Union Ministry would forward the letter to the state Chief Secretary.

Meanwhile, DGP (ACB) M N Reddi did not want to comment on the contents of the letter to the state DGP. He said, “State ACB will function strictly within the framework of law as enshrined under the PC Act.’’
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