A tribute to Tarun Roy, ex-chairman of Central Board of Customs and Excise

Mr. Tarun Roy, 1961 batch of the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Excise), former Chairman of the Central Board of Customs and Excise, died on 30th April 2021. One of the finest officers the Service has seen, he was a natural embodiment of sophistication, enchanting conversation, humour, old world charm gentlemanliness, large-heartedness, and sartorial style. He could disarm an adversary with timely wit, ease tension by an appropriate joke and unruffle feathers in his own inimitable style.

A huge personal loss for us – how endearingly he would treat officers like us who were decades junior to him; how forgiving and protective he was of them! Whilst Principal Collector, North Zone, an inadvertent diplomatic affront was perceived to be caused to a high foreign dignitary at Delhi airport. Heads would have rolled, including perhaps the heads of one of us. He just picked up the phone and spoke to the Foreign Secretary and the matter rested. Many of us who came from the countryside specially benefitted from the lessons we learnt from him which cannot be taught in any school or college.

One of the first things he did upon becoming Chairman was to call for a meeting on initiatives that needed to be taken. Suggestions starting flowing about systems and procedures, when he interrupted and asked to first suggest welfare measures for staff including their faster promotions.

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that future generations of officers will scarce believe that such a one, who also played Ranji Trophy and was an ardent golfer, once headed CBEC.

Loved and admired by all who came in contact with him, he will surely make Heaven a happier place by his presence.

Salutations and good bye Sir; do not just rest in peace; spread happiness ‘there’ too.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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