Sangli: Sales tax officer goes AWOL, dept issues warning notice in local daily

Tucked away in a corner of a Marathi daily in Sangli on Wednesday was an odd notice: the state sales tax department directing one of its rogue officers to appear before it within 10 days or face disciplinary action. The move was prompted by sales tax inspector Pallavi Ramchandra Mane-Patil’s absence from work for over four months.

The Class I officer who was deputed to Sangli — her first posting as a sales tax inspector — on August 25, 2011 has been ‘missing’ since her last working day on November 12 last year. But her father, Ramchandra, filed a missing person complaint at the Aashta police station in Sangli only a month later. Since going AWOL, Pallavi severed ties with all her contacts. According to Aashta police inspector Pratap Poman, she was last seen in Ahmednagar and Bangalore.

Ramchandra, however, claimed she had reached out to him recently and revealed that she had eloped with her Ahmednagar-based boyfriend. Asking him not to track her down, she reportedly assured him that she would return as “a higher rank officer”.

Attempts at contact
Wednesday’s notice was issued after repeated attempts by the sales tax department to get in touch with Pallavi. The office had sent a notice to her house in January, but her family returned it, saying she was untraceable.

Yogesh Kulkarni, deputy commissioner sales tax department (VAT administration), Sangli, who issued the notice, said Pallavi didn’t apprise any official of her leave. “We tried to contact her repeatedly. Issuing such a notice is as per procedure under the Maharashtra Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1979. Since she has neither turned up for work nor has furnished a reason for her absence for over four-and-a-half months, we had no choice but to issue the notice.”

The department, too, filed a missing person complaint with the Wardi police in Sangli on January 22.

Ramchandra, a farmer from Islampur in Sangli district, told mid-day that Pallavi called him up in January, saying she was set to get married to her boyfriend and would return soon. “She said she would come back as a senior official. I hope she is safe, wherever she is,” said the distressed father.

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