MANY TRADE tax officers may be in trouble as the State Government is all set to order a high-level inquiry into the multi-crore ingot scam.
The matter has already been referred to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav who holds the additional charge of the Trade Tax Department. “The Chief Minister has taken the matter quite seriously and may soon order an independent probe to punish the guilty,” Principal Secretary (Trade Tax) K Chandramauli told Hindustan Times.
Admitting the ingot scam to be a “systemic failure” he said all possible steps would be taken to nail down those found responsible for causing revenue losses to the State exchequer.
He said a preliminary inquiry conducted into the case suggested that a detailed investigation was required to discover all the facts and take action accordingly.
As reported first by Hindustan Time a few weeks ago, connivance between the trade tax officers, especially, at the check-posts and the iron mafia caused around Rs 100 cr (many put the loss at Rs 1500-2000 cr) revenue loss to the State during the past 10 months. What actually happened was — that the trucks loaded with ingots used to enter UP from states like Bihar and Jharkhand, after procuring a certificate from the entry check-post at Naubatpur in Varanasi, on the condition that the consignments would to be sold off in Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. The exist posts also certified the trucks having crossed the UP border. In fact, however, the trucks never crossed the UP border and sold off the ingots (iron blocks used to make rods) to the iron industries in UP itself.
This way they evaded the tax applicable on the inter-state sale of any good.
The Government has now perhaps realised the gravity and the repercussions of the matter with the voices against the scam being raised from various quarters.
Only the other day, the Trade Tax Bar Association demanded a CBI probe in the scam which it claimed to be far bigger than the Bihar’s fodder scam.
Sources said that the top trade tax officers posted at the headquarters might be involved in the scandal. “Without their knowledge a scam of such magnitude was not possible,” said a senior officer.
There are allegations that the departmental inquiry being conducted into the case was trying to save the real players in the game.