Trouble came looking for a sales-tax inspection team on a search mission on Wednesday afternoon at the local railway station.
Surjit Singh, an assistant sub-inspector in the Railways Protection Force (RPF), is reported to have threatened team leader captain YS Matta, joint director in the sales tax department of Punjab, with lodging a case of stepping on the property of the Railways without permit.
In a raid to check illegal transport of goods, Matta and his team faced opposition from the RPF and other railway authorities. The team seized 266 unaccounted-for parcels and packets at the railway station. The ASI is reported to have told Matta he would lodge a first-information report (FIR) against him for his conduct at the railway station.
Only after heated arguments with railway officials could Matta finish his job. "The RPF has done nothing to control the illegal traffic of goods through trains," said Matta. "They said I deserved an FIR for not asking them for permission before checking."
The railways workers on ground were together with touts in the sales-tax evasion racket, claimed Matta. "They swindle the state of sales-tax revenue worth crores of rupees." he said. "A few days ago, I had led a similar raid on the Ferozepur railway station and found attitudes no different there. We are not talking India-Pakistan cooperation but only coordination between two departments, one of the state and another of the Centre, for keeping a check on an illegal activity."
Railway officials didn't cooperate with sales-tax inspectors because they accepted bribes from touts to smuggle their goods out of the station, said Matta. "The packets that we impounded were verified improperly when these were put on a train at Delhi. Papers were incomplete, and the parcels may have contained opium and poppy husk so easily."
Matta said he would ask the railway minister to let the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) look into his allegation.