Tuesday, June 23, 2009

North Block’s top taxman keeps his door-light on a green mode

THE door is virtually open if you wish to meet one of the country’s top taxmen --- Sudhir Chandra, member (investigation) of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Unlike all his predecessors in North Block, Mr Chandra has made it a point to keep his door light on a green mode even when he is in a meeting on serious tax matters. Many government officials prefer keeping the door light on a “red” mode even if they are relatively free, thereby discouraging other visitors to enter their rooms. However, Mr Chandra’s logic of not switching on the red light is to facilitate junior officers of the department to walk up to him without any hesitation, officials in the department have confirmed. A 1973 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official and batch-mate of CBDT chairman S S N Moorthy, he holds the rank of a special secretary to the government of India. No wonder, many junior officials of the revenue department find themselves quite comfortable now to enter into Mr Chandra’s room and take up serious matters. As the Member, investigation, he monitors all searches conducted by I-T department. Mr Chandra was chief commissioner of Income-Tax in Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) for over two years becoming moving to the North Block.

BoI Extraa… It’s past 12 midnight now, but not dark as yet. I can still see the outside world from my hotel room located in the heart of Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden which witnesses the long days in summer and equally long nights during winter thanks to its proximity to the North Pole. I am told that if I travel 200 km north of Stockholm, I will be able to see the midnight sun! Anyway, I may or may not go further north, but I will definitely give you a sense of Swedish babudom, and common men’s perception towards bureaucracy here.

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