“Ye jo hua, accha nahi hua!” These were the words that came to my mind when I saw the list of Income Tax Officers being sent into forced retirement. Income Tax Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Srivastava, who exposed the 1000s of crores-worth tax violation and money laundering of NDTV and their links with the corrupt former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was terminated by the Central Government on fake cases of sexual abuse in the garb of the arbitrary Provision Rule 56(J) of Fundamental Rules. This Rule was generally used to terminate the services of persons who crossed the age of 50 years and were caught for serious cases like corruption and those who were not working (considered dead wood).
As and when S K Srivastava found tax evasions and money laundering in the corrupt TV channel NDTV owned by money launderer Prannoy Roy in 2006, the maverick Income Tax Commissioner was under the radar of the then corrupt Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who used to launder his bribe money through NDTV. For the interest of readers, we are bringing out the exact timeline of the expose of Srivastava and the hardships he faced from the corrupt people.
- In 2006, Income Tax Commissioner SK Srivastava started smelling tax evasion and frauds in NDTV. He found that NDTV’s Assessing Officer Sumana Sen IRS was in connivance with NDTV and her husband Abhisar Sharma was working in NDTV. Those days Sharma, a junior anchor was getting a dream salary of Rs.1.4 lakhs per month from NDTV, while many known journalists were getting only Rs.40,000 per month. Sumana Sen, as an Assessing Officer never declared to the Income Tax Department that her husband was working in a firm under her Assessing Circle of Income Tax. Sumana and Husband were enjoying many foreign trips also at the expense of NDTV. This gross violation was reported by S K Srivastava. This reporting made Srivastava to come under the radar of the then corrupt Finance Minister Chidambaram who started bullying the honest Income Tax officer. To wreak vengeance on Srivastava, Sumana Sen filed a department complaint that Srivastava harassed her sexually. Her complaint was that Srivastava used to speak ill about her to colleagues and pass lewd comments and wrote sexually abusive comments in file. But none of these complaints found merit in the departmental inquiry.
- In 2008, Srivastava found another lady IRS officer Ashima Neb, working in the foreign tax division of Income Tax also favouring NDTV. He reported to higher authorities as to how she saved NDTV from money laundering through foreign firms. Srivastava also reported the doubtful purchase of a flat in Delhi by Ashima Neb, accusing her of taking bribes from NDTV and her frequent foreign trips to Dubai and a long stay of 10 days in Mauritius. Ashima Neb was also close to Chidambaram and many higher officials. Ashima, also like Sumana Sen filed allegations of sexual harassment and the complaint was on the same lines as Sen’s – that Srivastava used abusive words against her in official files and documents, etc. This complaint also did not file any merit in the departmental inquiry.
- Within a few weeks, Chidambaram who had then become the Home Minister, forced Delhi Police to register FIRs against SK Srivastava on the complaints (which already lost merit in departmental inquiry) filed by Ashima Neb and Sumana Sen. Meanwhile using this, when Chidambaram got back to the Finance Ministry suspends S K Srivastava and unleashes a series of departmental inquiries. Srivastava approaches the court and during a heated argument in Delhi High Court, the HC surprisingly orders to send him 15 days to a Mental Hospital in January 2014. Why the High Court passed such an order is another question. Then the Mental Hospital reports back to High Court that Srivastava is mentally sound. During this period, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, activist, and writer S Gurumurthy, noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, top cop KPS Gill, activist Madhu Kishwar intervened in many forums seeking justice for the honest officer SK Srivastava. Meanwhile, in many forums, Srivastava started winning cases.
- In mid-2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders reinstating of SK Srivastava. But the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, a known buddy of Chidambaram, was objecting to Srivastava’s posting in Delhi and posted him in the nearby Noida region. From 2015, SK Srivastava was eligible for promotion as Principal Commissioner and Jaitley, due to his proximity with Chidambaram, was holding the file.
- The interesting thing was that till last year (2018), Srivastava’s Annual Confidential Records show meritorious grades of more than 90 percent as he has achieved more than his targets.
- The trial court discharged SK Srivastava in early-2018 on the sexual harassment case filed by Ashima Neb. The case filed by Sumana Sen is still in the preliminary stages.
I hope the readers have read the timeline carefully. So how did S K Srivastava’s name come in the list of corrupt officers facing charges? How unproven charges of sexual harassment, that too filed by the lady IRS officers caught for accepting benefits (in simple language it is bribing) from NDTV became an issue?
It is learnt that Arun Jaitley, in the early weeks of May, approved this list by covertly including Srivastava’s name. And the current Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman agrees to this list already approved by Arun Jaitley and the PMO’s Additional Principal Secretary P K Mishra initiates all file movements to terminate S K Srivastava who exposed the NDTV’s frauds and tax evasion and the parking of bribe money by Chidambaram. The billion dollar question is – who do you work for? Why act and follow up on the fake cases initiated by Chidambaram?
It is high time Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened and secure justice to S K Srivastava, who fought against the mighty and the corrupt.
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