By: Vivek Gupta
The UT Administration is in a fix as three of the five officers named by the Punjab government in its panel sent to fill the post of Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) are facing vigilance inquiries.
The administration has sought a fact-finding report from the Punjab government on the panel, it is learnt, as the three officers are ineligible for the post.
The post of AETC fell vacant after UT cadre officer R C Bhalla had retired in February this year. Barring Bhalla, the post had always been occupied by a Punjab or a Haryana cadre officer in the past.
However, the entire selection process is currently stalled as complaints alleging poor credentials of the officers named in the Punjab panel have brought the matter to a standstill.
UT Administrator Kaptan Singh Solanki also refused to go ahead with the selection process, and a clarification on doubtful names had been sought from the Punjab government after his insistence, said sources.
“The response of the Punjab government is awaited and is expected soon. After their feedback, appropriate action will be taken,” said UT finance secretary Sarvjit Singh.
Amid all this, lobbying has only intensified. Sources said that the affected candidates met senior officials even up to the level of UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev to explain their position.
One such officer told Newsline that these complaints were not true and only aimed at eliminating some front-runners from the race.“We are sure that response of the Punjab government will clarify the matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UT cadre officers have also jumped on the bandwagon and have demanded that the post should be retained with the UT.
A UT official said that last AETC Bhalla was not the only officer from UT cadre to hold this post. There were other examples in the past too. Therefore, there was no harm in considering the UT cadre for this post.
However, their demand is unlikely to be taken seriously since none of the current excise and taxation officers of the UT cadre fulfil the eligibility criteria for the post of AETC which requires an experience of five years as ETO. “UT should reduce the norms to four years to consider UT officials,” said an officer.
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