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Exclusive: Mumbai's Income Tax Commissioner on the Bachchan case


Hari Om Tulsyan, 60, Mumbai's Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, retires on June 30, after 36 years as an Indian Revenue Service officer.

Before starting an exclusive conversation with rediff.com Managing Editor Sheela Bhatt he said he is a happy man because he "got an opportunity to serve the nation." A man of simple tastes and habits, Tulsyan is known as a hardworking, sharp and focused bureaucrat.

In his long career, Tulsyan served in Kanpur, Pune and New Delhi.

He will be most remembered for the leadership he provided at various times in his career, especially to his team of tax officers in conducting detailed investigations into the methods of Mumbai stockbrokers, diamond merchants and other rich traders, which over the years have added an estimated Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) to the exchequer.

He rubbishes the accusation that he is hounding actor Amitabh Bachchan under political pressure. "I have never got any phone call from politicians to harass anybody in my entire career," he says. "Now, I am itching to retire so that I have the time to play golf."

He adds that Bachchan has never contacted him or asked for any favours.

Tulsyan says he wants people to remember that he was a taxpayer before he became a taxman. Six months after he joined the Indian Revenue Service, an arrest warrant was issued against him because a tax recovery officer found some arrears. On inquiry, the young Tulsyan discovered that although he had paid tax properly it was not credited. Somehow he rectified the error.

His boss at that time told him he should ensure that such an incident did not happen to anyone. Tulsyan says he has never forgotten that lesson.

An insight into why the Income Tax department thinks they have done no wrong in asking Amitabh Bachchan a few questions.

Image: Mumbai's Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Hari Om Tulsyan

Photograph: Sheela Bhatt

Earlier Slide show: Amitabh, 60

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