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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Bogus billing scam: steel firms come under scanner

Sachin Sharma , Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, July 01, 2013
First Published: 22:56 IST(1/7/2013) | Last Updated: 22:57 IST(1/7/2013)

The exposure of an alleged tax evasion worth crores by a city-based steel firm by the excise and taxation department seems to have brought all steel companies under scanner.
 
In wake of the scam, the department has started to check the records of steel firms to find out any discrepancy in their records pertaining to business. The firms claiming Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption by showing sales outside the state will feel more heat of the drive.

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Confirming this, assistant excise and taxation commissioner (AETC) Tejbir Singh Sidhu said the department has started scrutinising the records of steel companies on priority basis.

“It is obvious that after the exposure of tax evasion by Krishna Ispat Udyog, we will scrutinise the records of other companies minutely, especially of those engaged in claiming VAT refunds showing imports outside the state,” he said.

“This will ensure that companies do not indulge in similar practices, and help find out discrepancy in records, if any,” he said, adding that if any discrepancies were found, penalties would be imposed on defaulters.

Meanwhile, the exercise has left the industry anxious, as they believe it might lead to harassment of honest taxpayers.

KK Garg, president, All-India Induction Furnace Association, said it would not be appropriate to harass the whole industry on the pretext of bogus billing by one firm.

He said no such illegal work was possible without the connivance of department employees and the department should rather focus on its black sheep.

“No genuine manufacturer will indulge in bogus billing. Moreover, after the introduction of e-tripping system, bogus billing is almost impossible,” Garg said.

Sumit Jain, member, managing committee, Chamber of Commercial and Industrial Undertakings (CICU), said the exercise might lead to harassment of honest traders.

In a major exercise to unearth tax evasion, the mobile wing of Punjab excise and taxation department had raided the premises of Krishna Ispat Udyog here for alleged involvement in bogus entries of inter-state sale of steel scrap amounting to Rs. 23 crore.

An FIR has been lodged against the company in this connection, while an excise and taxation inspector has been put under suspension and another has been suspended.

Majority of steel firms in state are based in Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh in Fatehgarh Sahib district that falls under Ludhiana division of excise and taxation department.

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