Massive tax evasion in Mandi Gobindgarh - ECAS Punjab

Massive tax evasion in Mandi Gobindgarh

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Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 23

As soon as a team of police officials raided the residence of a transporter at Pearl Enclave, Fatehgarh Sahib, early this morning, all private transporters or their agents residing in the district fled. The raids were conducted in connection with the statewide crackdown by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) after unearthing a GST evasion racket worth crores.

Network of criminals, transporters?

  • Majority of the transporters and their agents recruit petty criminals
  • They accompany the vehicle carrying the goods with fake bills and use different mobiles to inform officials and transporters about the location of vehicles
  • A transporter says they pay between Rs2 lakh to Rs5 lakh per month to mobile wing and officials of the Excise and Taxation Department
  • Unit owners thus save 18% GST, which is over Rs7,200 per tonne
  • They sell the product without bill over Rs2,200 to Rs2,500 per tonne cheaper

Private transporters or their agents, popularly called 'passers' here, in connivance with officials of the Excise and Taxation Department, evaded Goods and Services Tax (GST) and caused huge losses to the state exchequer. Over 80 to 100 such traders are operating from Asia's biggest iron and steel town Mandi Gobindgarh. The units operating here transport iron and various other goods to other states and bring in raw material from across the country.

If sources are to be believed, the recent raid of the VB is just the tip of the iceberg. Majority of the 'passers' have recruited petty criminals, who accompany the vehicle carrying the goods with fake bill and use different mobiles to inform the officials as well as the transporters about the location of vehicles.

A transporter, on the condition of anonymity, said they paid anything from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per month to mobile wing and officials of the Excise and Taxation Department, as per their "status and capacity to take risk".

Sources said the 'passers' charge from Rs 700 to Rs 900 per tonne for within the state delivery and from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per tonne for out-of-state delivery and vice versa. They prepare fake bills for tax evasion, which are usually ignored by the officials of the department during checking. The mill owners thus save 18 per cent GST, which is approximately Rs 7,200 per tonne. They sell the product too without bill, approximately Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,500 per tonne cheaper, causing huge financial losses to the state exchequer. The government can earn crores of rupees as tax from Mandi Gobindgarh only, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Sunita Batra, Assistant Excise and Tax Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, when asked as to how many defaulting traders had been penalised for using fake bills since she had taken over, said the checking was being done by the mobile wing and the matter was related to them. She termed it a sensitive issue and evaded all queries.



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