NEW DELHI :
New Delhi: Sushil Chandra, currently chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), has been appointed as an election commissioner, filling the only vacancy in the Election Commision of India (EC), which has two election commissioners apart from the chief election commissioner.
The appointment comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May. This will be the first major assignment for Chandra as no assembly election is slated to take place before that.
The general elections, where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pitching for a second term and is being challenged by the Congress and a string of other opposition parties, are likely to be announced soon by the Election Commission.
Chandra, a 1980 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, is one of the rare non-Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers to be appointed to the post. His appointment takes effect from the day he assumes charge, according to a 14 February gazette notification by the ministry of law and justice.
Chandra’s term as CBDT chairman ends on 31 May 2019. He will join chief election commissioner Sunil Arora and election commissioner Ashok Lavasa in the constitutional body.
Chandra pursued a B.Tech from Roorkee University and an LLB from D.A.V. College in Dehradun, according to a senior poll panel official. He has been posted in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi, and Maharashtra.
The IRS officer has been heading CBDT, the apex direct tax policymaking body, since November 2016 and had earlier received two extensions in that post.
At CBDT, he has led the Union government’s efforts to unearth black money, plug the loopholes in the law that were abused by tax evaders and fine-tune personal income-tax (I-T) norms to give relief to individual tax payers.
Under Chandra, the income tax department made investigations into tax evasion non-intrusive by extensive use of technology and data mining.
The I-T department is currently upgrading its information technology systems to select cases for scrutiny with greater precision based on risk of revenue leakage and make assessment without any physical interface between the tax payer and officials.