Taking up a public interest litigation seeking directions to get an inquiry conducted by an independent agency to check the alleged large-scale evasion of stamp duty and registration fee across Punjab, especially in Amritsar, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the state government to file its reply.
The petition filed by Ajnala, Amritsar, resident Baldev Singh Sirsa came up for hearing before the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih on Thursday.
The petitioner informed the court that he had filed the application under the Right to Information Act, and in reply got the documents about the audit reports revealing around Rs. 3.63 crore stamp duty evasion under supervision of seven officers in Amritsar.
The court was informed that earlier in 2002 also, an inquiry was conducted into the scam amounting to Rs. 1 crore stamp duty evasion and three officers whose names were mentioned in the RTI documents PPS Goraya, Rajesh Sharma and Lakhwinder Singh were indicted.
He informed the court that according to the RTI information, no action, either criminal or departmental inquiry, had been taken by the state government against the officers concerned till date.
The petitioner also sought directions to the state government to take appropriate action against the officials responsible for evasion of stamp duty and registration fee.
Talking about the modus operandi, the petitioner informed the court that widespread evasion of stamp duty and registration fee took place by undervaluing the property or by registering the documents under lesser punitive heads illegally or by simply registering sale of properties below the collector rate with collusion of the authorities concerned.
The case will come up for hearing on September 24.