State excise and taxation department has suspended 3 officials of the department for harassing the traders, who has availed the Rahat certificate of the Punjab government by paying lumpsump tax.
Anurag Verma, ETC said on Wednesday that a complaint was received at the Rahat helpline number that one excise & taxation officer along with 3 excise & taxation inspectors and some police official had visited the premises of Abohar based M/s Kisan Tyres Retrading Co., and had taken a bribe of Rs. 42,000.
As per the commitment to public under Rahat scheme, the complaint was immediately sent to asst excise and taxation commissioner, Fazilka for verification of facts.
Verma said that AETC deputed a senior officer to meet the complainant. The complainant gave a statement to this officer that on February 2, ETO Harpreet Singh, excise inspector Jasalpreet, Amrit Kumar & Kulwinder Singh, along with constable Pooran Chand, Surinder Kumar and Raj Kumar, taxation peons visited their premises. The officials threatened them that since they were evading tax, a huge tax and penalty will be imposed on them. He stated that the officers pressurised them to give a cheque of Rs. 72,000.
In addition, ETO Harpreet Singh took bribe of Rs. 30,000, while inspectors took bribe of Rs. 10,000 and lower functionaries took Rs. 2000.
Kuwinder Madaan said that at that point of time, the said cheque and the above mentioned cash amount was given to the departmental officials, but later on when he discussed the matter with his friends and relatives, they felt that they should bring the matter to the notice of the higher authorities.
When the officers concerned came to know about this, they returned the cheque of Rs. 72,000 and Rs. 30,000, but balance cash of 12,000 is yet to be returned. So, he lodged a complaint at the Rahat Helpline, said ETC.
Verma said that in his enquiry report, AETC, Fazilka found that ETO and the excise inspector had gone for inspection without permission of higher authorities. He further reported that prima-facie, it seems that the officers had indulged in corrupt practices and had tarnished the image of the department.
Thus, all were suspended, added Verma.
He reiterated that if any trader faces any harassment at the level of lower functionaries, he should lodge his complaint at helpline no 18002582580 and prompt action will be taken in the matter.