Three senior trade tax officers suspended for involvement
THE CASE of Bihar transporters clandestinely unloading Uttaranchal-bound ingots (iron blocks) in Uttar Pradesh to evade the tax applicable on the inter-State sale of goods has taken a new twist.
The State Government today handed over the probe into the multi-crore ingot scam to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). None other than Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who also holds the additional charge of the trade tax department, ordered the high-level probe.
Besides, the Government also placed three senior trade tax officers under suspension for their prima-facie involvement in the racket. They are joint commissioner SD Dwivedi, deputy commissioner PK Dwivedi and assistant commissioner Ramashankar Shukla.
On the other hand, the trade tax commissioner has chargesheeted 28 officers posted at the Naubatpur entrance check-post in Varanasi, which issued transit passes to the trucks but did not verify the records with the exit Bhaganwala check-post in Bijnaur to see if the trucks actually crossed the UP borders.
Convinced about the gravity of the scam, the Government today issued orders asking the EOW, a specialised investigating agency, to probe the traders-transporters-officials nexus. The nexus which executed the organised racket, being termed as one of the biggest scams, is said to have caused at least a Rs 100 cr loss to the state exchequer.
Principal Secretary (Trade Tax) K Chandramauli confirmed that the chief minister had ordered an EOW inquiry. He said the EOW has been given a month’s time to complete the inquiry and submit its report to the Government.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Trade Tax Commissioner Rajnish Gupta claimed that he had already sent a list of truck numbers and names of transporters to the Government on August 3, recommending a probe by the EOW to identify the UP traders who were benefited.
He said that he had issued chargesheets to 28 officers on the basis of the findings of the four-member departmental inquiry. Among them are 14 trade tax officers, 12 assistant commissioners and two deputy commissioners – all posted at the Naubatpur check-post.
These officers, he said, signed intentionally or otherwise, fake transit passes planted by the truckers and did not verify if the passes were actually issued by the Bhaganwala exit post.
Gupta said that as per the departmental inquiry the Naubatpur check-post issued 1,250 transit passes to trucks (carrying ingots) from Bihar to Uttaranchal between July 2005 and June 2006. However, the Bhagnwala exist check-post verified only 400 passes confirming that the trucks which were issued the passes at Naubatpur crossed the UP borders. He said 800 passes were not verified and another 250 were found fake.
In fact, what happened was that hundreds of trucks loaded with ingots used to come from Bihar to UP. They got transit pass from the entry check post at Naubatpur, showing that they were going to Uttaranchal. But instead of going to any other State, they sold off ingots to UP’s iron factories in various cities.
Significantly, the transporters managed ‘fake’ verification certificates deemed to have been issued by the exist check-post verifying their exist from UP borders.
Gupta said around 8-10 Bihar transporters had come into the pictures during the inquiry. They are Kolkata-Ludhiyana Road Nigam, Kolkata-Punjab Road Nigam, Jagdambe Road Lines and Adarsh Road Lines. However, the beneficiaries in UP are yet to be identified, said Gupta.
He said that he promptly ordered the departmental inquiry as soon he got the scent of the fraud on July 4 and a four-member committee, he added, completed its work in a record time.