New Delhi, July 18:-The appointment of
three new members-- AP Sudhir, Chitra Saha and Srikrishnan --to the Central
Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has triggered a row following complaints
lodged by the two senior Indian revenue service officers Mr. IR Soni and Mr.SS
Bedi- the central administrative tribunal (CAT) and the administrative tribunal
in Chandigarh have issued stay orders on appointment of Mr Srikrishnan as CBEC
Mr Sudhir and Ms Saha, whose appointments have
also been contested by the petitioners, had assumed office prior to the orders.
Mr Soni and Mr Bedi had challenged the appointments as out of turn promotions,
saying that their seniority had been overlooked in the process.Government
sources, however, told FE that the CBEC membership was not a ?cadre post? with
seniority as the sole criterion. ?The appointment is through a selection
process. Weightage is given to the candidates? impeccable integrity and many
other factors,? they said.
The government had reason to be suspicious of the
honesty of the two offices, based on reports of the Central Vigilance Commission
and the Intelligence Bureau. The government has already filed petition with the
CT, urging that the two cases be clubbed. As per the service rules, an IRS
officer can be considered for the post of the CBEC member only if he had at
least one year of service left. Both Mr Bedi- who is chief commissioner in
Chandigarh and Mr Soni (now chief department representative in Delhi) - meet
this criterion, besides being the senior most.