The railway police and the excise and taxation department have jointly unearthed a major scam of tax evasion at the Ludhiana railway station.
The joint team has found that a large numbers of goods sent through the Railways were dispatched in the names of bogus firms to evade tax.
During the checking of 191 consignments from the Ludhiana railway station, the hub of the industry in Punjab, it came to fore that nearly 166 consignments were in the names of fake firms, which didn't exist in the records of the Punjab excise and taxation department.
Sources said there was tax evasion of nearly Rs 2 to Rs 3 allegedly by a Ludhiana-based tax evasion mafia, named "Passers".
The firm allegedly charges money from companies to evade tax and dispatch the material through the railways, where, at present, is no proper set up to check the authenticity of tax documents.
Inspector, general railway police, Rohit Chaudhry said the department had checked the data submitted by the people who had booked the consignment and it had come to light that most of the firms were non-existent. Neither they paid their taxes nor their papers were genuine, he added, confirming that 166 out of 191 checked consignments contained false information.
He said the amount might go up, as the authorities have checked the data of only three days i.e. from August 23 to 25.
Ironically, the data of the excise department of these days shows that only 25 firms had paid taxes for railway consignments, but the actual number of consignments booked was 191. A mafia had actually booked the consignment at the railway station, dodging the excise authorities.
He said primary calculation showed that VAT worth lakhs had been evaded per day.
He said a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against unidentified persons on the statement of Parminder Singh, excise and taxation officer.
Sources said "Passers" mafia is so strong in Ludhiana that they had twice attacked the excise officials, who dared to check their documents for booking of consignments at the railway station, from where hosiery and cloth were dispatched to several parts of India.