The state excise and taxation department has failed to rein in the ‘Peti Mafia’ operating allegedly in collusion with some department officials at the Ludhiana railway station, leading to mounting losses to the state exchequer.
Data procured from the excise department for September 2016 shows that 18,402 cartons of goods (mostly hosiery) were sent outside the state. However, data with the railway parcel department put the number of cartons sent outside at around 24,000.
Once one puts these figures side-by-side, it is clear that 5,600 cartons were sent without paying taxes ( or tax receipt) as is evident by the fact that the Information Collection Centre (ICC) of the excise department at the railway station did not have any record of these cartons. Sources said that this points to the operation of a nexus between hosiery traders and officials.
Here’s how it works: Officials allow cartons to reach the railway station in autos and cycle rickshaws during early morning or late night hours. Usually, less-frequented routes are used.
In fact, the ‘Peti Mafia’ have been so emboldened by their success that some of their henchmen even assaulted two policemen attached with the mobile wing of the excise department recently. Several unauthorised boxes carrying goods could be seen at the platforms at railway station even during the day time.
AETC, mobile wing, Avtar Singh Kang said, “I am not aware of any tax evasion. I will look into the matter and if any illegality is found, strict action will be taken.”