10 years after traders evaded taxes, dept begins probe against 800 firms - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

10 years after traders evaded taxes, dept begins probe against 800 firms

10 years after traders evaded taxes, dept begins probe against 800 firms

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2

Ten years after traders and firms evaded taxes amounting to hundreds of crores in import of goods to Punjab, the state Excise and Taxation Department has started investigation against over 800 “errant” firms.

These companies used to import goods from outside the state in containers allegedly without paying any sales and purchase tax and value added tax. Some of the companies were also believed to have availed input tax credit fraudulently by showing purchases on paper only without any actual sale/purchase of goods.

The errant companies include food majors, whose packaged food items are imported from other states and sold in Punjab; chemical manufacturers who had got raw material and refused to pay taxes; and timber traders who sold goods to companies in other states by evading state taxes.

Vivek Pratap Singh, state Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said they were getting the data verified against the companies, who believed to have evaded taxes between 2009 and 2012 on the shipments they received or sent through Dry Port at Dhandari Kalan.

“The department officials have been asked to analyse the data and in case of any discrepancy, we will initiate appropriate action,” he said.

The investigation against these trading firms and manufacturing units was conducted by the then Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Ferozepur Division, Capt YS Matta (now retired), in 2013.

The retired officer said he had analysed the data of several dealers from 2009-12 on the basis of goods being transported through Container Corporation of India and reaching the Dry Port at Dhandari Kalan near Ludhiana.

“I had analysed 52,336 transactions by 2,907 dealers and found that they evaded taxes worth hundreds of crores. I had submitted the information to the then Excise and Taxation Commissioner, who in turn asked the Economic Intelligence Unit to probe the matter. But since then, nothing moved forward,” he alleged, adding that he estimated that taxes worth over Rs 4,000 crore had been evaded.

Matta has since moved various top officials and offices in Punjab, as well as the Government of India, to ensure that the investigation reaches a logical conclusion.

Officials in the Excise and Taxation Department, however, say of the 52,336 transactions that were analysed by Matta, 41,682 were of states other than Punjab and thus out of their purview of investigation.

“Only 10,654 transactions by 850 Punjab-based dealers can be analysed, which also include majority of transactions that were not involved in goods imported for resale. The data made available to us did not have the Taxpayer Identification Number of the importing dealers, but we are now trying to verify the data again. All assistant state tax commissioners/incharges of districts have been asked to verify all imports made by dealers (whose names came in the initial probe),” said an official in the Excise Department. The officer said they had given a deadline to the officers to finish the investigation within this month.

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