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CBI probe demanded

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 01:34 IST

THE UTTAR Pradesh Tax Bar Association has demanded a CBI inquiry into the ingot scam. The association claimed it was one of the biggest scandals in the country. It alleged that a four-member departmental inquiry into the matter was an eyewash.

Association president Yogendra K Saxena and general secretary Arvind Kumar Gupta alleged that a nexus between trade tax officials and iron traders had caused a revenue loss to the State exchequer. They were addressing a Press conference here on Monday.

As reported by the Hindustan Times, trucks loaded with ingot (used to make iron rods) came from Bihar and Jharkhand. They got forms from the entry check-post near Varanasi showing that the consignment was going to either Uttaranchal or Himachal Pradesh. But, the ingots were sold to traders in UP itself. Thus, tax applicable to inter-State sale of goods was evaded. The trade tax exit-posts, however, certified that the trucks crossed the UP border. According to an initial assessment, 2,500 trucks evaded tax in this manner between September 2005 and June 2006.

The association leaders said this was the tip of the iceberg. They claimed the scam was going on for years and not limited to one check-post or two. They alleged that since some officers of the department were involved, a departmental inquiry would never reveal facts.

They also hinted an influential person in the State Government was patronising the ingot mafia. They, therefore, demanded an independent probe by the CBI, the EOW or the Vigilance Department so that the culprits could be brought to book. They said the revenue loss caused by the loss should be compensated by deducting officers’ salaries.