Overloading of trucks is a common site on Bihar roads, especially on the GT road connecting UP and Jharkhand via Gaya, Rohtas and Kaimur districts.
But what is not a common knowledge, is that the government is losing crores of rupees due to evasion of tax on a largescale owing to the nexus of government officials, police and gangs referred to as the ‘entry mafia’.
Laden with coal, concrete, sand, iron and other goods, they ply on the roads unhindered, thanks to 'entry mafia', who facilitate their smooth movement along the stretch on fixed rates and through check posts. Once payment is made, there is no restriction on such illegal carriage.
Dobhi in Gaya is the main entry point from Jharkhand, while Mohania in Rohtas is the main entry point from UP. Bihar government has its teams of commercial tax department, transport department and police deployed here. But, according to sources, these are the places where the 'entry mafia' also thrives.
“Instead of tax going to the government, a bulk of it goes to the 'entry mafia', which operates in connivance with government officials and provide forged document for vehicle clearance at the entry point. The vehicles given forged document have a code written on the windscreen for easy identification of 'cleared' vehicles,” admitted an official.
Sources said, for every commercial vehicle, the charge ranges from Rs 2,000- 2,500 per trip. “After this, the vehicles don’t have to pay any tax to the government,” they said, adding more than 4,000 commercial vehicles move through the stretch, out of which over 2,500 pass through with ‘permits’ from the 'entry mafia'.
For trucks frequenting the stretch several times in a month, there is the provision of 'monthly pass' also. “These vehicles carry sand and for a fixed amount of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, they have liberty to move on the stretch without any restriction for a month,” he added. The truckers often do not have valid permits, the trucks are invariably overloaded and blatantly evade the tax they owe to the state.
The connivance of the government officials with the 'entry mafia' is such that there has never been any complaint of such large- scale tax theft till April 2015. It was only in May 2015 that two FIRs were lodged with Amas and Dobhi police stations respectively.
A senior district administration officer said that for any raid by any regional transport officer/mobile sub-inspector, vehicles and force are procured from district. “Surprisingly, it is never done, as the officials also use private persons and private vehicles so that their modus operandi remains under wraps,” he added.
DIG, Magadh range, Shalin, said two FIRs have been lodged - one on the statement of Amas police station station house officer against an 'entry mafia' kingpin Aurangzeb alias Raju Khan, a resident of Chatra and owner of a petrol pump in Sherghati in Gaya; and the second on the statement of a truck driver under Dobhi police station against unidentified 'entry mafia'.
“Gaya SSP, Manu Maharaaj has been asked to get the call data record (CDR) of Khan and examine the details to establish the links. There is a clear case of tax evasion and the matter is being investigated. We have got reports that Raju Khan has patronage of many bigwigs,” he added. On the basis of forged and manipulated documents, Aurangzeb is alleged to have been running a racket that caused huge loss to the public exchequer. Though the loss is yet to be quantified, based on conservative estimates, the loss caused to the government is said to run into crores per month.
Patna zone IG Kundan Krishnan said any official involved with tax theft would have to face the music. “Loot of public exchequer will not be tolerated,” he added.
In January 2015, the NH-2 passing through Kaimur district, had hit the headlines when then IG Patna Zone A K Ambedkar came across a parallel check post being run by cops to extort money from truckers. The parallel check-post was set up allegedly by the written order of SP Kaimur at Mohania, few metres ahead of the integrated UP-Bihar inter-state check post. The IG had also detected that the police personnel seized many heavy vehicles at the parallel check- post but mentioned a few in the register.