2 Punjab transport dept staffers held for pocketing lakhs in commercial vehicle tax
Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrests duo with fake vehicle entry software, bogus stamps; another employee at large
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has arrested two employees of the transport department for siphoning off commercial vehicle tax worth lakhs through a fake vehicle entry software and bogus stamps.
Apart from the two employees, Harpal Singh of Hasanpur village, Fatehabad, Haryana, and Salinder Singh of Bishanpura village, Zirakpur, the bureau has also booked another employee, Praveen Kumar of Khanpur village, Kharar, who is at large.
The fake computer software, and the bogus stamps and seals have been recovered.
Giving details, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Ajay Kumar said around 2,000 commercial vehicles, as well as new chassis of commercial vehicles, entered Punjab from other states daily.
These vehicles are required to pay tax for entering or passing through Punjab, which can be paid online by the vehicle driver/owner or deposited at RTA’s Tax Collection Centre in Jharmari, Lalru, Mohali.
Kumar said Harpal, Salinder and Praveen were posted at this centre on rotational basis. Their job was to collect the commercial vehicle tax after filling the requisite details, including registration number and type of vehicle, in the e-Parivahan software of the transport department. The collected tax is further deposited with the state exchequer.
However, these three employees, with the intent to siphon off the tax, developed a fake software, similar to the original, and started generating bogus receipts for tax paid by the driver/owner of the vehicles. The DSP said as such, the income generated was being pocketed by these accused for long, causing a loss of lakhs to the state exchequer. “Not only this, they also fabricated stamps/seals to be affixed on the receipts to pass them off as genuine,” he added.
He said during investigation, two such receipts were cross-checked with the government’s e-Parivahan software and were found to be bogus.
As this modus operandi was not possible without the connivance of other officials, the official said the involvement of other officers/employees was being ascertained through further investigation.
A case under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 471 (using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and Sections 7, 7A, 13(1) (A) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered at the Vigilance Bureau police station in Mohali.
Efforts are underway to arrest Praveen. The two arrested accused will be produced in court on Thursday.