After Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis took cognisance of the Hindustan Times reports on the octroi tax evasion racket that involves top politicians, underworld gangsters and civic officials, IC Sisodia — former chief of special duty vigilance cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — has gone on record to confirm the deep-rooted nexus.
Sisodia said the unauthorised agents, with their underworld connections, operate with a fake receipt book that resembles the original. “The fake receipt books look authentic; even their serial numbers are same as the originals,” he said.
“Most of BMC’s vigilance officers are corrupt; even those at the additional municipal commissioner level do not go on rounds to keep a check on the octroi outposts or godowns. Most of the octroi and vigilance officers now are a part of this racket as they want to earn money,” he said.
Sisodia said in the recent past, municipal commissioners have been lackadaisical, thus letting the racket flourish.
“Some BMC commissioners adopted the let-it-go attitude. They do not want to get in to the complications of stubbing a racket like this,” he said. He also questioned why a special cell made to keep a check on octroi evasion was dismantled.
“Why would the corporation depend on the police to get to know about the octroi evasion? We had a special cell that was specially formed to keep a check on octroi evasion. It was dissolved two months ago,” he said.
Sisodia claimed while he was in service, he personally chose a team of the best officers to keep a check on octroi evasion. “I had six officers working with me. Our superiors would ensure a strict eye was kept on all agents,” he added.
Civic chief, Ajoy Mehta, meanwhile, said he will have to verify the reasons for the dismantling of the special cell and could not confirm it.