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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Excise dept not naming firms in tax refund scam

Arjun Sharma, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, July 06, 2014
First Published: 10:11 IST(6/7/2014) | Last Updated: 10:13 IST(6/7/2014)

The excise and taxation department of Punjab has so far not come out with the names of nearly 100 bicycle companies of Ludhiana involved in a multicrore fraud in which these companies had claimed more than their entitled tax refund by forging documents.

For the 2012-13 fiscal year, these firms showed export of cycle parts to Nepal and claimed full 6% central sales tax (CST) refund — a benefit extended by the state government to encourage the trade — given for international export. However, the documents were forged, and the goods had actually been sold in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, thus entitling the exporters to only 4% tax refund under the interstate category. The scam was unearthed by the intelligence wing of the excise department after a report from the Customs. An inquiry is on.

So far, though, neither has there been any clarity on the exact amount nor have the companies been named. Eyebrows have also been raised as no timeframe has been set for the probe. An assistant excise and taxation commissioner (AETC) has been given the sole responsibility to verify all records of the Ludhiana companies. Sources said teams of the department have been sent to Bihar and UP, that share border with Nepal, to verify as to how many companies actually are involved and the quantum.

Deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC) Amrit Kaur said, “Documents regarding the bills and other transactions of these companies are being verified so that the picture is clear.”

AETC, Ludhiana-1, Darbara Singh, who is probing the matter, also said the scrutiny of documents was on at present.

Adding, Anurag Verma, the state excise and taxation commissioner, said “some hurdles” were being encountered by the department in getting data. Staff shortage was also hindering the process, he added. Data from Customs, which monitors all international exports, holds the key.

Many industrialists want the names revealed. Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASII), said, “It is important to name them so that others can be aware. The culprits should be tried as per the law.”

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