DRI - Institution Falling in Disrepair - JAAGO North Block, Jaago!
MARCH 12, 2012
By A Netizen
AS an avid TIOL fan, I was on the watch out for the Cob (Web) Column after the news of the arrest of ADG, DRI. Read the latest column with a tinge of sadness. Rest assured, Cob Web appears to have bugged couple of offices at the right (if not North) places to provide us with the dope, it eventually has!!
So what next? One of the comments passionately mentions “Please Save DRI”. But is the malaise only in DRI and that too at the top? Is this problem only with the Revenue Intelligence? What about DGCEI? What about the Central Excise and Customs and Service tax? What about the Income tax, Transfer Pricing? What about the Enforcement Directorate? What about the CBI? Is there any organization within the Revenue setup and the powerful setups which is free from the clutches of the insatiable thirst and addiction called ‘corruption'.
At this stage, let me request Netizens to revisit an article written by Advocate Padmini - DRI and forced 'penalty' during investigations – Sentenced before Trial! Please read the same. I think the author had hit the nail on its head where one of the key issues of perpetual fiefdom of some so called ‘super sleuths' was highlighted. Read this extract. “ …Important first is to understand what are the selection norms, why is select individuals manage extension to work in the said organisation, how is that without cooling period they continue to be retained in the organisation, what is the agenda behind all this – why is that same individuals continue to remain in DRI for eternity, even if they leave they manage to come back as if their posting there is a “JanmSidhAdhikar” – what is the agenda behind all this.”. Does it ring a bell now with the Cob Web article? And if one needs to understand how the article was received, please also read the comments (from ghost writing to the pain of DRI being called a Goonda Raj).
A glance at the officers at IO and SIO in DRI and even in DGCEI will reflect that the above is correct. They continue to manage their postings and remain in the chair for years to come and thus become bigger than the organization. Even after the above article was written and after number of thought provoking inputs in the Cob Web, did the top officers even bother to do a head count on this and take stock of the situation?. The answer can easily be predicted.
Why do the same officers not work in Review section for perpetuity or in Technical Section of some Central Excise or Service tax Commissionerate? Why is that officers who come from DRI or other DGCIE formations go out in search of other postings such as Marine and Preventive, CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Preventive formations in the Central Excise / Service tax/ Customs? The answers have to be simple. Only corruption and nothing else. All the claim of excellent cases and brilliance fades in the background of their intent to be in the said post and that is where exactly the malaise starts. Who is responsible for this? The senior officers who want their pie out of postings? Those who get their share for postings so that they can satisfy their political bosses for their postings? The symptoms are all so prevalent.
Look at the present SVB set up of Mumbai Customs. Will anyone take a stock taking there and see how many files are pending there for ages. And why some recent files are being cleared whereas the rest gathers dust and moss and what not. Will some one investigate what is happening in such sensitive places? Is there consistency in the Orders issued clearly with certain specific level of ‘involvement'? Take the adjudication and refund process in all Commissionerates. Very rarely does one see officers who request judicial precedents and avoid genuine relief at the lower levels. Else, it is a pain and a criminal waste of money. I would fight my own cases at the Commissioner level and Commissioner Appeals level rather than appoint lawyers and consultants. Because, I know there is no respect to the law at the lower level. How then do you resolve this? Can you talk about any organization which is free from corruption?If I have left out the Income tax Department, it is not because I have any special love for them. Look at the raids they conduct and its outcome? Look at its assessment regime. It's as sad as its brother Revenue Set up. The extent may vary but the intent is very clear- what is in it for me, else be ready for a negative order. What does the Vigilance Organisationdo? Simply nothing if netizens believe that it is an unending saga of corruption at all places within the Revenue setup.
The rot has set in and some one needs to clean up the mess. There could be many reasons and much analysis. The need of the hours is to make each and every officer of the Department accountable for its action. Why keep DRI out of RTI? If it is for the phone-tapping cell, then keep that cell out but bring the others into RTI. The answer could lie in an Accountability Bill to make officers at all positions accountable for their work. What happens today to an officer who issues the most frivolous and outlandish adjudication order in clear defiance to settled laws? What happens to the officer who refuses refund till his hands are greased? What happens to the customs officer who has illegally detained consignments because his moolah has not been to his expectation? What happens to the SVB officer who is clear that either ‘load him' or ‘get the imports loaded'. What happens to the audit officer who is clear that the objection can be dropped only if there is enough gratification for the same? What about the central excise preventive officers who go for their hafta collections. Nothing. Just that they laugh their way to the jingle of the “Gandhis” and then plan and plant their way to the next postings. Citizens Charter is made a mockery out by the entire community. So the only way is to get each one accountable. And coming back, how does one make the Department accountable. Can this be done? I have no answers. As part of the Trade, I have been mute witness to some of the torturous Departmental experiences. Many stories heard, may be some exaggerate, some lies. But years in the Trade have convinced me that there is no smoke without fire and I think every body from the bottom to the Top knows it. I am sure the law makers in the Government must be aware.
I hope the Chairman of the Board will read this piece ( ie if TIOL publishes it). I am sure all Customs Houses and Central Excise and Income tax formations and service tax groups will read this as it discusses them and mirrors them in ways more than one. Lokpal was coined Jokepal and brushed aside. The Board and seniors ministers in the Government should understand that many suchAnnas would mushroom if the frustration of the Trade is not stemmed. Make the officers accountable and let them pay for the cost of frivolous litigation. Let some of them get the boot. Also make promotions only on merit. Let the best officer whether he is an Inspector or IO or Appraiser move up. Fire their passion to work competently. Make the same for the IRS also. The worst of this lot should be demoted. If held accountable for abysmally poor and deliberate work fuelled by vested interest “ throw the rotten egg out”. Don't let them feel that this is their home forever. Make those who issued Transfer and Posting Orders accountable as well. Make the concept of merit and posting transparent. Most malaise could be stemmed with accountability and transparency. Only then, can there be a start of a change. Else, these Cob Webs and pages of Gyan will only be part of columns and Limca Book of Records.
Finally, can I categorise all officers in the same category. NO. There are some fantastic officers and I bow for them. Some clean men and cleaner souls. If this article hurts their sentiments, a big SORRY. But, the clarion call to all within the Department, in CBEC and MoF is JAAGO !! BEFORE HISTORY REPEATS. THIS TIME IT COULD BE ONE OF YOU WHO WOULD BE “MILKED” BY THE CBI. AND IF ANYONE IS LISTENING. GET SOME ACCOUNTABILITY IN QUICKLY. BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. AND YES. SAVE THE INSTITUTION.