Illegal kiosk used to collect entry road tax in Ghaziabad busted

The police said that the accused was part of a gang that operated the kiosk and a possibility of insiders from the transport department in the nexus cannot be ruled out.

noida Updated: Mar 08, 2018 23:08 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad,loss,transport
The kiosk was run near NH-24 in Indirapuram.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The Ghaziabad police on Thursday arrested a man who allegedly operated a kiosk adjacent to NH-24 in Indirapuram for collecting state entry road tax and had been duping commercial vehicle operators for the last three years.

The police said that the accused was part of a gang that operated the kiosk and a possibility of insiders from the transport department in the nexus cannot be ruled out.

According to police estimates, the man had been operating the kiosk by using a fake website to generate tax collection slips that were given to commuters. The kiosk was running adjacent to a petrol pump in Abhay Khand of Indirapuram.

The police estimate that it could be a part of a bigger scam as the kiosk generated nearly Rs30,000-Rs40,000 per day and had collected nearly Rs3 crore.

The police on Thursday arrested Manoj Kumar, of Morta in Ghaziabad, who is pursuing his graduation through correspondence. He was paid Rs10,000 per month as salary and allegedly posed as an additional regional transport officer (ARTO) to collect tax from commercial vehicles. His associates are yet to be identified.

“The accused had been generating tax slips, which were found fake on the basis of bank code and barcode that it carried. Their website is also fake. We are sharing the information with the transport department as the accused have collected nearly Rs3 crore through the operations from the kiosk,” Akash Tomar, superintendent of police (city), said.

According to the police, the gang stopped commercial passenger vehicles that entered UP through UP Gate, generated slips through its website and also deposited the amount in a bank account.

The alleged scam came to light on Wednesday evening when a cab driver who had deposited Rs1,640 tax for a month at the kiosk got to know that the receipt was a fake.

“After depositing the tax, I also got an SMS on my mobile phone, confirming that the tax had been deposited. When I moved towards Sector 62, Noida, there was a checking going on by the transport department. They asked me for documents and told me that the tax receipt was a fake. They also showed me, through their app, that the receipt was fake,” Akshay Kumar, the cab driver from Khoda, said.

“I called other drivers from my association, nabbed Manoj and handed him to the police. We also lodged an FIR as the kiosk had duped several of my fellow drivers. I had been depositing tax at the kiosk for the last three months,” Kumar said.

Following a complaint, the police lodged an FIR for cheating and forgery at Indirapuram police station against Manoj and others.

The police recovered a laptop, printer, fake transport department seals and fake receipts of the transport department from the possession of the accused.

Officials of the regional transport department said that they only have an online facility to pay such tax and no kiosk is operated or authorised to collect entry tax from commercial vehicles.

“The vehicles will have to pay online through our website. In case they do not pay and get caught during checking, they will have to pay five times the tax as a penalty. Any such kiosk (for collecting tax) is fake and they are not authorised to collect the tax. We have closed all collection centres and tax is only payable online,” AK Tripathi, regional transport officer, Ghaziabad region, said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 23:08 IST