Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 22
In a first-of-its-kind case, a retired senior officer of Haryana’s Excise and Taxation Department will have to pay Rs 26 lakh from her retirement dues and take a pension cut for causing revenue loss to the state on account of her actions.
Kamla Chaudhary, a retired Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (DETC), will have to pay Rs 26,74,104 from her retirement dues, which have been withheld by the department, and face a Rs 5,000 per month cut in pension as punishment for her actions, said the orders issued by Sanjeev Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretary (Excise and Taxation), on Wednesday.
Chaudhary is the first senior officer of the department to face such action. She was also among some officers indicted in an inquiry conducted by an SIT headed by IPS officer Shrikant Jadhav on the directions of the Lokayukta, Haryana, after a Rs 10,600-crore scam was detected in the Haryana Excise and Taxation Department that involved helping unscrupulous dealers siphon off money from the state exchequer by way of input credits. The orders issued by ACS Kaushal said as per inquiry conducted by Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner Ashok JS Bhadu on April 11, 2014, Chaudhary had committed omissions and commissions in approving refunds to dealers while working as the DETC at Kaithal.
A charge-sheet under Rule 7 of the Haryana Civil Services (Punishment and Appeals) Rules, 1987, was issued to her. She submitted her reply to the charge-sheet on May 19, 2016.
Retired District and Sessions Judge RP Bhasin was subsequently asked to conduct a departmental inquiry against her. In his report submitted on April 17, 2017, Bhasin concluding that the charges against Chaudhary stood proved. “Subsequently, second show-cause notice was issued to her on May 24, 2017. After hearing her reply dated October 16, 2017, a personal hearing was given to her on December 8, 2018,” said Kaushal in his orders punishing Chaudhary.
Chaudhary was held guilty of causing loss of Rs 25,34,439 to the state exchequer through excessive refunds to firms and a further loss of Rs 1,39,575 on account of non-verification of bogus “C” and “F” forms. Chaudhary termed the order wrong and said she would challenge it in court.
‘Decision in haste’
I was given a hearing in 2018, where I provided all documents in my defence. The department didn’t take action till March 2019. Now, when I moved HC over non-implementation of court order for disposal of chargesheet against me and payment of retirement benefits within four months, the order has been passed in haste. — Kamla Chaudhary, Retired DETC
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