Nagpur civic body employees paying private operators to complete online property tax system
NAGPUR: The incident of property tax misappropriation in Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has exposed the illegal computer operators appointed by tax recovery and assessment inspectors, to operate the property tax online system. These illegal operators are openly using the user IDs and passwords of property tax department employees, leaving scope for manipulations. TOI had on Wednesday reported about suspension of two tax inspectors over alleged misappropriation of property tax revenue. NMC assistant commissioner (property tax) Milind Meshram told TOI a detailed investigation has started into cases where tax amount was reduced and tax receipts cancelled after receiving payments. “Preliminary inquiry revealed tax recovery and assessment employees of three zones — Hanuman Nagar, Nehru Nagar and Ashi Nagar — were operating property tax online system by appointing operators on their own. Works like corrections in property tax amount of taxpayers, cancellations of receipts etc are done by employees in online system. But these employees have given their user IDs and passwords to their operators. Therefore, we are restricting the authority to amend property tax amount. Now, it will be done from head office only,” he said. Meshram added inspections will be done to check whether the same system is being adopted in remaining seven zones. Municipal commissioner Ashwin Mudgal and additional municipal commissioner Ravindra Kumbhare have warned of action against employees who appointed their own private operators, and also gave their user IDs and passwords. A question is also being raised on how the employees were managing to pay salaries of private operators appointed by them. NMC sources told TOI cases of reduction in property tax amount and cancellation of receipts may increase after completion of detailed inquiry. Unfortunately, Mudgal and Kumbhare have not even issued show cause notice to their employees in this regard. NMC is yet to register an FIR with police in property tax revenue misappropriation case too. The case has also brought to fore violations of state government norms. The government had made it mandatory for NMC employees of class-III and above to obtain MSCIT certificate in 2001, to ensure all employees can operate computers. The last date for obtaining MSCIT certificates was 2007. Unfortunately, around 40% of NMC employees had not obtained MSCIT certificate till last year. No action was taken against the employees for nine years. Kumbhare had stopped promotions of some 40 employees without MSCIT certificates in July 2017. The employees registered strong oppositions and action halted temporarily. NMC official from general administration department said around 20% employees do not have MSCIT certificates till date. “Now, action will be taken against the employees. Even employees having MSCIT certificates do not know how to operate computers,” he said.