47 IRS officers feature in credits of controversial tax booklet. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, April 27 : The controversial FORCE document of Income Tax officers which triggered a controversy with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) promising action has given credits to 47 officers.

The 43 page booklet called FORCE in which a proposal was prepared for raising taxes to meet the COVID-19 challenges was quashed by the Finance Ministry and the CBDT as "ill-conceived" and "irresponsible".

Finance Ministry sources termed it as prima-facie an act of indiscipline and violation of conduct rules which specifically prohibits officers to go to media with their personal views on official matters without taking prior sanction or the permission of the government.

"The concerned officers will have to explain their misconduct. The Chairman, CBDT has been directed to seek explanation from these officers for writing such 'ill-conceived views' in public without having any authority to do so," sources in the Finance Ministry said.

Under the credit section of the booklet, it mentions "Guidance" by two senior IRS officers, Sanjay Bahadur, Bahadur, Principal Director of Income Tax (Investiagtion), North East Region, Shri Prakash Dubey IRS,Director, DoPT,Delhi.

The mentors for the young officers are Deputy Commissioners of Income Tax, Saagar Srivastava, Apoorva Tiwari, Srivatsa Sehra, Rachna Choker and Assistant Commissioners , Shakeel Ahmad and Castro Jayprakash. These are 2014-16 batch IRS officers.

The cover design is by Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Yashodhar Pareek IRS, 2016 batch.

There are 23 contributors to the booklet namely, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Sukhad Chaturvedi, Madhukar Anand, Ashish Kumar Rai, K.D.Pemmiah, Subramaniam G, Gautham Mukundan, Swapnil Kothawade.

The Assistant Commissioners are Ashutosh Singh, Punit Daga, Gaurav Garg, Abhinav Agnihotri, Saurabh Jain, Vikas Aswal, Mohd Arshad, Surbhi Garg, Vedant Kanwar, Mukul Kulkarni, Govindmohan, Abhishek Jain, Mohnish Dhingra, Basuki Nath Jha, Amandeep Danoa, and Arun Kumar. These are 2015-18 batch IRS officers.

There are 15 participants also listed in the credits to the booklet. These include Assistant Commissioners of Income tax, Bipasha Kalita, Manesh Gupta, Saurabh Sharma, Pranay Nahar, Pranav Kanitkar, Atul Kumar, Shreshth Tayal.

The other participants who are also Assistant Commissioners are Gaurav Garg, Vivek Modi, Siddhartha Gautam, Abhishek Jain, Keshav Goel, Prashant Sagar, Namita Sharma and Kunal Aggarwal. These are 2018 and 2019 batch IRS officers.

In its response, the government termed the IRS officers' tax increase report 'irresponsible' and sought explanation for misconduct.

The Finance Ministry sources have said today that an ill-conceived report named as 'FORCE' put up by a group of officers through IRS Association giving suggestions on increasing the taxes, etc., in the difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic and releasing the same in the media through IRS Association's twitter and website is 'an irresponsible act' of few officers.

Fin Min sources said that neither IRS Association nor any group of officers mentioned in the said report were ever asked by the Government to give any report on the subject. In fact, it was not even part of their duty to prepare such a report.

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