Posts Tagged ‘customs’

For the continuance of “Raj”, why blame poor sub-ordinate officers by calling “Inspector Raj”!

June 2, 2016

For the continuance of “Raj”, why blame poor sub-ordinate officers by calling “Inspector Raj”!

inspector raj stop - slogan“Inspectors” are easy to blame for all follies of economic experts: From Finance Minister to Corporate personnel, it has always been a fashion to blame “Inspectors” for the folly, blunder and even evasion of industries and corporate business houses. Last November 2014, the Prime Minister Modi also talked about “cutting down inspector raj” in the context of labour (Ministry of Labour)[1]. The “inspectors” have always been easy target for them, as they have been subordinate to everybody and all can use and abuse them by all means, speaking before any forum. Therefore, it is not all surprise, a person like Raghuram Rajan has chosen to target such species and accuse them for economic reasons. As it is a PTI news, the media just carried the stuff as such with some different captions. Addressing ministers, bankers, bureaucrats and other stakeholders at the 4th Odisha Knowledge Hub, Raghuram Rajan said that[2], “Stating that the government needed to create a proper environment for the start ups…….though India has done away with the licence raj, inspector raj continues to some extent“.  But, if the licence raj could have been done away by the government, why not  inspector raj? Why then government allow such “inspector raj” to some extent?

Raghuram Rajan - inspector raj continues to some extentNow his cited examples are about “factory and boiler inspectors”: He added that, factory and boiler inspectors and other field level regulators should have adequate knowledge on the initiatives being taken by the government and RBI for the betterment of small and medium enterprises[3]. Light regulation, he said, is very important in small and medium enterprise sector and a heavy regulation many times do not give easy entry and easy exit which is why people keep away from it[4]. Field level regulators must have information regarding the initiatives, he added[5]. The RBI governor appreciated the system of self certification for the industries[6]. He, however, said the authorities should ensure that there is no misuse of it[7]. If he is so worried about these “inspectors”, the connected Acts and Rules can be amended to empower higher officers to visit factories, inspect the machinery, pipes and line installed and certify themselves. Perhaps, the industries and corporate houses might be so convenient with their visits instead of the poor creatures “inspectors”!

FDA to bring Inspector Raj - 06_08_2015_001_062Misuse of self certification for the industries, as apprehended by him: declaration, statement, certification, sealing etc., are now allowed to the industries themselves, instead of government officers to come and do under self-declaration, self-sealing schemes. However, as there is no check, at one point, the industries start exploiting it, as there is none to verify such  self-declaration or self-sealing leading to misdeclaration and hence evasion etc. How then, the authorities could ensure that there is no misuse of it? Verifying the self-declaration or self-sealing, implying that somebody should go to the premises where such activities are taking place, verify the facts before and after such processes and then get satisfied about the facts. Who would do it? As “inspectors” cannot be sent with such biased, prejudiced and preconceived notions against them, only higher officers should go.

GV Sreedhar about Inspector Raj on duty of jewellery“…though India has done away with the licence raj, inspector raj continues to some extent”[8]: Here also, the expression “to some extent” used has been dubious, obviously to please the audience or to show off that the higher officers, government top-level bureaucrats and such other species have been angels, whereas, the creatures like “inspectors” are despicable devils. If it is not “whole extent”, why “to some extent”? Remove it totally! Actually, while carrying out the PTI news and printing faithfully, the media has not come out with facts[9]. None talks about “Superintendent Raj”, “Collector Raj”, “Commissioner Raj” etc, as if they have no role to play. After all, the powers are delegated and percolated from top to bottom and not the other way. The “inspectors” are chosen to visit factors situated at hundreds of kms away from his work-spot. And as per the provisions of the Act and Rules, he has to go there and conduct his inspection and report to his higher officer. The higher officers insist inspector to take all responsibilities in writing on the note sheets of all files. They simply sign, that is all. However, if any benefit is there, that should come to them, before or after signing! Then, Rajan, kindly and honestly tell the public, who is encouraging the “Inspector Raj” to some extent?

Salt Inspector - PremchandFrom “Salt Inspector” to “Central Excise Inspector” to “Factory and boiler inspectors”: The Bengali writer Munshi Premchand (1880-1936) has explained the practical difficulties faced and pressures exerted on his by others, while a salt inspector (Namak ka daroga) was discharging his duties during Jamindar Raj and Brirish Raj. Particularly, how a honest salt inspector had to suffer at the hangs of all. Almost, the situations and conditions were faced by Central Excise Inspectors and all used to ridicule and blame them. And now the “factory and boiler inspectors” have become target of the Government babus. Last month, he commented[10] that with India being often described as ‘the bright spot in the global economy’, as he could see, that as a case of “the one-eyed man” being king in the land of the blind!

Ine land of blind, the one eyed man is king“……….the one-eyed man” being king in the land of the blind!: The proverb “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” has the following connotations:

  1. Among others with adisadvantage ordisability, the one with the mildest disadvantage or disability is regarded as the
  1. Even someone without much talent or ability is considered special by those with no talent or ability at all.
  1. Someone that can see his actions transpire in determination makes the most out of every other thing disconnected.

India has been always considered as “a land of blind, idiots………” etc., by the colonial rulers, western sarcastic friends and of course, faithful Indian critics. They have been very happy to mention about the story of “four blind men touching and describing elephants”!  So expert like him has chosen such simile to desribe Indian economy. Whether “the one-eyed man-king” as referred to is the PM or otherwise, or Indian is that “the land of the blind” is not known, but, is intent is revealed. Such comments are coming out, now only and not before, though, he has been living in the same land!  Actually, it was picked up from the poem “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887), which is as follows:

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

By criticizing the people of India, he cannot get any benefit. So by commenting that “…….though India has done away with the licence raj, inspector raj continues to some extent“, what benefit he would get?

© Vedaprakash

27-05-2016 / 02-06-2016

[1]The new system, thus, is expected to cut down the Inspector Raj that has hobbled the industry so far, and address wages and pensions for workers. And right after the inauguration, 1,800 labour inspectors across the country will get text messages from the Prime Minister, apprising them of the new rules……..  Inspection lists would now be made centrally – and the list of inspectors will be generated randomly by computer. Every inspection will have objective criteria and the report will have to be uploaded on the unified portal within 72 hours.

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modi-to-announce-labour-reforms-cut-down-inspector-raj-679996

[2] Times of India, ‘Licence raj’ gone, but ‘inspector raj’ still there: Raghuram Rajan, PTI | May 21, 2016, 07.13 PM IST

[3] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Licence-raj-gone-but-inspector-raj-still-there-Raghuram-Rajan/articleshow/52377300.cms

[4] Economic Times, ‘Licence raj’ gone, but ‘inspector raj’ still there: Raghuram Rajan, PTI | May 21, 2016, 07.07 PM IST

[5] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/licence-raj-gone-but-inspector-raj-still-there-raghuram-rajan/articleshow/52377203.cms

[6] Indian Express, Rajan calls for norms to do away with ‘inspector raj’, Sunday, May 22, 2016, Published: 21st May 2016 09:57 PM, Last Updated: 22nd May 2016 05:09 AM

[7] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/Rajan-calls-for-norms-to-do-away-with-inspector-raj/2016/05/21/article3444719.ece

[8] The Business Standard, Recovery uneven, more work needs to be done: Rajan, Jayajit Dash,

Bhubaneswar May 21, 2016 Last Updated at 23:04 IST .

[9] http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/recovery-uneven-more-work-needs-to-be-done-rajan-116052100542_1.html

[10] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indian-economy-like-oneeyed-king-in-land-of-blind-rajan/article8483083.ece?utm_source=InternalRef&utm_medium=relatedNews&utm_campaign=RelatedNews

CBI officers attacked, accused escaped and surrendered later: A struggle within government officials in tackling corruption!

April 16, 2016

CBI officers attacked, accused escaped and surrendered later: A struggle within government officials in tackling corruption!

Ashok Raja, the Sperintendent of Central Excise, who was caught by the CBI officers on April 8, 2016 night around 8 pm at Madurai.

How the issue started: Muruganandam of Nagamalai Pudukottai is engaged in the Cable TV operator service. Registering with the Service Tax (ST), he was paying Service Tax. However, during some verification, S. Ashok Raj, Superintendet of Central Excise raised some querries regarding non-payment of ST in certain cases. He said that either he had to pay the tax or give some amount to him to settle the issue. However, Muruganandam strongly felt that he need not pay. As he was getting calls fron Ashok Raj and Krishnan another officer, threatening and harassing, he decided to complain to CBI. When he informed, some CBI officials including Balachandran, Krishnan came to Madurai. They asked Muruganandam to go to the office of S. Ashok Raj to offer money so that they could catch him redhanded.

9 booked for attack on CBI sleuths The Hindu 10 April 2016

Friday (08-04-2016) evening – the CBI operation started: Accordingly, he went there on 08-04-2016 and started doing what CBI said. Thus, Ashok Raja and his colleague were ‘trapped’ by the CBI at the office of Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax at Bibikulam on Friday (08-04-2016) evening, while Muruganandam was offfering bribe-money. The sleuths reportedly caught him red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs. 75,000 from Muruganandam. Then, CB took them to their office for further enquiry, investigation and statement recording. As the CBI officials were recording their statements, an armed gang stormed the office and attacked the five-member team with wooden logs and iron rods. Different versions appeared in the media about the no. of persons, the nature of persons, the weapons used etc. Two CBI sleuths sustained injuries. The gang destroyed some of the evidence collected in connection with the bribery case, tearing the statement papers and took away the bribe money. The CBI sleuths had complained to the city police that they had found Rs. 2 lakh unaccounted cash in the office during the trap. Even that money was taken away by the gang while whisking away the two accused from the CBI custody.

In a filmi style, an armed gang attacked a team of CBI officials – The Hindu describes: In a filmi style, an armed gang attacked a team of CBI officials and rescued a Central Excise official who was reportedly trapped in a bribery charge at the Customs office in Madurai on Friday night (08-04-2016)[1]. The CBI sleuths, including Inspector Murugan, sustained bleeding injuries. The incident is said to have happened at around 8 p.m. at the office of the Commissioner of Customs Central Excise and Service Tax located at Bibikulam. According to police sources, the team of five CBI officials trapped the Superintendent at around 5 p.m. Even as the central investigating officials were recording the statements an armed gang barged into the office and started attacking the officials[2]. The gang also destroyed some of the papers and whisked away the excise official. The injured CBI officials were taken to a private hospital in the vicinity. A team of Madurai city police officials, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Bandi Gangadhar was probing the incident.

Involvement of office bearers of the CEOA School and police enquiry: The police said that the whole incident had occurred in the presence of two official witnesses during the trap. The city police was still on the lookout for the assailants of the daring attack on the sleuths. Senior officials of CBI from Chennai were camping in Madurai for the last two days. Meanwhile, a special team of the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch on Monday (11-04-2016) conducted a raid on the Central Excise Officers Association (CEOA) school in Madurai and seized documents relating to its financial transactions. Since the prime suspects were office bearers of the CEOA School, a search was conducted on their premises and school. The CBI’s Superintendent of Police met the Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise in Madurai to register strong protest against the attack and seek a detailed enquiry into alleged irregularities[3]. Many officials managed to remain in the same posting for several years which was one of the reasons for certain corrupt practices in the department, the official said[4]. Police yet to trace the official who was rescued away by gang during questioning.

Habeas corpus petitions filed for the wives of the accused and dismissed (10-04-2016 to 13-04-2016): Two habeas corpus petitions have been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here accusing Tallakulam police in the city of keeping in illegal custody the wives of two Central Excise employees accused of having absconded after assaulting Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials during a trap operation on Friday (08-04-2016)[5]. One of the two petitions had been filed by S. Mariyammal (63), mother of the prime accused S. Ashokraj, a Superintendent in the Central Excise Department. She claimed that the police had kept her daughter-in-law A. Suganya and the latter’s sister G. Vani, both serving as Managers in a nationalised bank here, in illegal custody since the incident[6]. In the other petition, C. Perumal (43) of Naganakulam here said that he was the brother-in-law of N. Krishnan, a Havildar in the Central Excise Department. He also accused Tallakulam police of having kept Krishnan’s wife K. Paju alias Panchavarnam in illegal custody and refusing to release her until her husband’s arrest or surrender. Both the petitions are expected to be listed for hearing on Tuesday (12-04-2016), dismissed subsequently, as they were released by the police after investigation.

The police registered a case and started investigation (10-04-2016): Deputy commissioner of police (law and order), Madurai city, Bandi Gangadhar said they were yet to make any progress in the case, three days after the incident[7]. They had formed nine special teams led by inspectors, which are closing in on the culprits, he said. The city police have filed attempt to murder and dacoity cases against central excise superintendent Ashok Raja, Krishnan and seven others, and are searching for them. The movements of family members, colleagues and other people who were in close contact with the accused are being closely monitored[8]. The police picked up a few of them and conducted inquiries in this connnection of the absconding officers[9]. Based on a complaint lodged by Mr. Murugan, the Tallakulam police had registered a case of rioting, criminal trespass, assaulting government official to deter him from discharging his duty, attempt to murder, dacoity and criminal intimidation[10]. The team of five CBI sleuths, comprising three Inspectors, were taken by surprise when the armed gang barged into the office room where the statements of “bribery case” accused were being recorded. Though the police claimed that the identity of the gang was yet to be established, a city police team enquired with the staff members of a school in the city in this connection. The police said that a key management person of the school was absconding. The city police said that the Central investigation team had not sought police security during the “trap”. The accused include two employees of Central Excise Department[11].

CBI officers attacked – one of the rare cases: A CBI official alleged that “….the gang of about 10 rowdies came to the office premises in four and two-wheelers and attacked them…..also tried to destroy the evidence collected against the official, but we were able to secure some of it. We believe that the attackers could have links with ‘Climax’ Raja, a retired Central Excise officer who is associated with the Central Excise Officers Association.” The local police, which are looking into the incident, believe that a private school is linked to the case as CBI officials have apprehended one of the school management-level officials. A total of 15 members have been picked up for interrogation, said police sources. Inspector general S Murugan and Deputy Commissioner of Police (law and order) Bandi Gangadhar visited the spot to conduct inquiry. A special team has been formed to investigate the incident. “This is one of the rare cases where CBI officials were attacked at a Central government office itself. This shows how deep rooted is corruption,” said a CBI official, unable to contain seething anger[12]. The CBI officials were unarmed as arms are usually not required during the trap proceedings. One of the injured CBI officials is recovering in the hospital, while the condition of other is stated to be stable.

The main accused S. Asok Raja surrendered on 13-04-2016 at Chennai: Meanwhile, Police sources here said that S. Ashokraj, the main accused in the case relating to the attack on Central Bureau of Investigation officials in Madurai on April 8.2016, and a Superintendent in Central Excise Department, surrendered before V Metropolitan Magistrate Court on Wednesday 13-04-2016 (after five days)[13]. From April.8 onwards, his whereabouts were not known and therefore, it is intriguing as to how he cxame over to Chennai from Madurai from 08-04-2016 to 13-04-2016. Definitely, he hasd been in contact with his close associates and others. The court remanded him in judicial custody till April 27[14]. Court officials informed the anti-corruption branch (ACB) of the CBI about his surrender[15]. After judicial formalities, he has been lodged in the Puzhal jail. The case is posted on 27-04-2016.

Totally 8 persons have been arrested by the Police so far (15-04-2016): Five persons wanted in connection with the April 8 attack on CBI officials surrendered before a court in Vadipatti here today (15-04-2016)[16].

  1. Kannan,
  2. Parthasathi,
  3. Subramani,
  4. Nagenthirakumar and
  5. Chellamuthu

surrendered before a court in Vadipatti, police said. They were remanded to 15 days judicial custody and later taken to the central prison in Madurai, police said[17].

Three persons, including another Superintendent of Central Excise Department were arrested on April 13.

  1. Samy, the Superintendent,
  2. Muthupandy – a driver and
  3. one Sararavanan, who were also remanded to 15 days judicial custody by a court.

About the surrender of Ashok Raj has already been mentioned. Krishnan is still absconding.

Last word: After the introduction of “assessees-friendly” Rules, most of the litigation is reportely reduced. Therefore, raising frivilous objections in interpretation etc., need not be resorted to by the officials. It is generally said that the “benefit of doubt” should be given to the assessees, the tax-payers. Under such circumstances, the happening of this type of incidences would create negative impact in improving economic scenario. Moreover, this type of violative, aggressive and belligerent reactio from the government service is totally unacceptable creating wrong impression among others. The responsible officers in question connected with one school and their wives working as Managers in Bank need not have resorted to such acts. As “moral values” are neglected and even made fun of, this type of tendencies have been on increase. Under corruption handling and management, more complication is created.

[1] The Hindu, Gang attacks CBI officials, frees ‘detained’ excise superintendent, Madurai, April.9, 2016, Updated: April 9, 2016 05:44 IST.

[2] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/gang-attacks-cbi-officials-frees-detained-excise-superintendent/article8453508.ece

[3] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/cbi-seizes-cash-jewels-from-excise-officials-house/article8463453.ece

[4] The Hindu, (With additional inputs from S. Vijay Kumar in Chennai).

[5] The Hindu, Habeas corpus petitions filed, Madurai edition, April 12, 2016; Updated: April 12, 2016 05:46 IST

[6] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/relatives-of-officials-file-habeas-corpus-petition/article8463451.ece

[7] Times of India, Three days after attack on CBI team, cops still clueless, TNN, Apr 12, 2016, 06.53 AM IST

[8] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/Three-days-after-attack-on-CBI-team-cops-still-clueless/articleshow/51787704.cms

[9] The Hindu, CBI seizes cash, jewels from Excise official’s house, Madurai, April.12, 2016; Updated: April 12, 2016 05:46 IST.

[10] The Hindu, 9 booked for attack on CBI sleuths, Madurai, April 10, 2016; Updated: April 10, 2016 05:45 IST

[11] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/9-booked-for-attack-on-cbi-sleuths/article8456657.ece

[12] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Thugs-Attack-CBI-Men-to-Save-Tainted-Babu/2016/04/10/article3372496.ece

[13] The Hindu, Attack on CBI officials: main accused surrenders, Madurai, April.15, 2016; Updated: April 15, 2016 05:42 IST

[14] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Central-excise-official-who-escaped-from-CBI-custody-surrenders-before-Chennai-court/articleshow/51828621.cms

[15] The Times of India, Central excise official who escaped from CBI custody surrenders before Chennai court, A Selvaraj,  TNN, Apr 14, 2016, 07.11 PM IST.

[16] PTI, Attack on CBI officials; 5 surrender in court, April.15, 2016: 21.50 Hrs.

[17] http://www.ptinews.com/news/7337822_Attack-on-CBI-officials–5-surrender-in-court.html