In order to check tax evasion on goods transported by railways, the state government intends to install CCTV cameras at various places besides repairing boundary walls of railway stations.
The excise and taxation commissioner has instructed the joint director, excise and taxation, Jalandhar, Patiala and Ferozepur divisions, to install CCTV cameras at different places and submit an estimate of the details of construction of the boundary walls.
The move comes after Capt YS Matta, joint director, investigations, excise and taxation, Ferozepur and Faridkot divisions, had demanded information from the railways about the goods being transported with the details of the consigner and the consignee. Hindustan Times was the first to report the matter on June 21 about the VAT scam that was raised by Capt Matta.
Blaming it on the lack of coordination between the excise department and the railways, the railway officials in August had admitted the alleged tax evasion.
Under the Civil Procedure Code, Capt Matta on August 14 attached the salaries of DRM, Ferozepur and Ambala divisions, besides that of railways CCM Sanjeev Garg for not submitting the documents demanded by the excise department.
Following this, on August 21, Ferozepur DRM NC Goyal, Ambala DRM PK Sanghi, Ambala DCM GM Singh, and chief marketing inspector Manjeet Singh accompanied by their advocate SK Jindal and other railway officials appeared before the court of Capt Matta and filed an affidavit, submitting the details.
What's the scam?
Suspecting a multi-crore tax evasion scam in transportation of goods by railways, Capt Matta had asked the railways to reveal the number of agreements with the agents who booked the SLP/VPs (break vans/parcel vans attached to passenger trains). He had also sought the agent/company address, date of agreement, validity of the deal, number of packages in each consignment, origin and destination of shipments, serial numbers, name, and the number of train in which the SLR/VPs were attached, value of the goods in each van, sale tax number, TIN, and VAT code of the consignor and consignee; and if the vans were not emptied at the destination booked.
How matter came to light
On May 31, the excise and taxation department headed by Capt Matta conducted a surprise check at the Bathinda railway station and slapped a fine of Rs. 10 lakh on the railways after having found 266 packets with no TIN or VAT numbers.
The goods and VAT
The goods, including tobacco on which 22% VAT is levied, electronic goods like LCDs and microwave with 13.7% VAT, dried fruit, readymade garments and footwear with 5.5% VAT and hosiery garments and other goods having a high VAT are allegedly being transported by train illegally to evade tax.
Capt Matta told HT, "Crores of rupees would be added annually to the state exchequer with this initiative of the state government to install cameras. We hope the railways in keeping with their promise would cooperate with us by responding to the information sought that could bring the tax evasion scam to light. They have submitted a few documents and we are perusing those."