The Punjab and Haryana high court slapped a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh on assistant excise and taxation commissioner SS Bangar, posted at Shambu barrier information collection centre in Patiala, for illegally detaining goods and vehicles under the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act. The order came in the wake of a petition filed by M/s Rions India and two other companies.
A division bench, comprising justices Hemant Gupta and Ritu Bahri, also directed the excise and taxation commissioner to initiate disciplinary action against Bangar 'for consistently acting' in violation of rules. The court also prohibited Bangar from being posted to roadside checking, directly or indirectly, involving verification of goods.
Bangar was also ordered to pay demurrage charges of Rs 1,500 per day from February 27 - the date of detention of goods and the trucks - till the date of realisation, within two months. The court also ordered the immediate release of the goods and vehicles.
An M/S Rions India truck, along with its goods, was detained at the Shambu barrier on February 27 and a notice issued to the company.
The company contended that authorities had no jurisdiction to detain the goods and the vehicle under the VAT Act, except for the verification of the genuineness of the documents.
The court was informed that the detention of goods had caused extensive loss to the petitioner, not only on account of demurrage and detention of the truck, but also for the delayed delivery of the goods to the end user.