HC asks Centre to respond to PIL against Mumbai Tax Ombudsman

Delhi High Court asked Centre and Revenue Department to file responses to plea seeking removal of HK Sharan as Indirect Tax Ombudsman Mumbai for "fraudulently" securing LL.B degree and other charges.

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Revenue Department to file responses to a plea seeking removal of H K Sharan as Indirect Tax Ombudsman in Mumbai for "fraudulently" securing LL.B degree and other charges.
"Respondent 1 (UOI through Cabinet Secretary) and respondent 2 (Department of Revenue) will file affidavits in response to the petition. They (affidavits) should also deal with the objection qua jurisdiction," a bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indermeet Kaur said.

The court has now fixed for July 7 the hearing on the PIL by R K Jain, a social and RTI activist who has sought quashing of Sharan`s appointment as Indirect Tax Ombudsman at Mumbai by the Finance Ministry on October 26, last year.

During the hearing, Justice Kaul said the Ombudsman is in Mumbai and "how come the court here has got the jurisdiction in the matter."

"The Delhi High Court has got the jurisdiction as partial cause of action arose here as appointing authority, the central government, has establishments here," Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Jain, said.

"Sharan was not at all eligible to get appointed to the post of Ombudasman (Lokpal) as persons of impeccable integrity and upright behaviour can only be appointed to this post which deals with the complaints made by the tax payer against the officials of Revenue department," the petition said.

"Sharan was appointed by Centre without considering the report Additional Director General Vigilance who had given a categorical finding in an enquiry initiated on the complaint of the petitioner that Sharan has obtained LL.B degree fraudulently from Calcutta University as a regular student while he was posted in Delhi and Addl DG Vigilance also recommended CBI probe into it," it claimed.

The PIL said that the Additional Director General Vigilance, in the findings recorded on October 3, 2011, had said that "Sharan obtained LL.B degree fraudulently".

"Despite this, the Additional Secretary, Department of Revenue (HQ) in his note dated September 12, 2012, wrongly and falsely recorded that :- `the allegation made by R K Jain against Saharan that he had obtained degree in Law from Calcutta University through fraudulent means, was found to be baseless`," it said.

The Appointment Committee of Cabinet was misled by the subsequent report, it claimed.

"There have been other allegations also which were levelled from time to time against Sharan. Casting serious doubt on his integrity....He has managed to get the closure reports despite there being adverse materials against him," it claimed.