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VAT scam in Haryana: Govt promotes indicted officers, Lokayukta asks why
December, 01st 2015

The BJP government in Haryana has posted at least three officers back to the districts of Gurgaon and Faridabad, from where they had been shunted out after their names surfaced in the multi-crore VAT scam. The racket, believed to be worth Rs 10,618 crore, was unearthed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in March this year.

Apart from elaborating on the role of various officers of the Haryana Excise and Taxation Department, the SIT had also recommended the registration of criminal cases against them. The state government, however, has not only reposted them but has also promoted them.

The revelations were part of an application filed before the Haryana Lokayukta by a whistleblower in the scam, Ajmer resident Shiv Sawhney. Acting on his application, Lokayukta Justice Pritam Pal (retd) on Thursday issued notices to the Haryana government and Roshan Lal, principal secretary (excise and taxation department), seeking their comments on the issue.

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When contacted, Roshan Lal, principal secretary (Excise and Taxation), said: “I am yet to get the notice”. He did not comment any further on the issue.

According to Sawhney, the Haryana Excise and Taxation department had on November 19 released a list of its officers being transferred in which the three concerned – Sameer Yadav, Dilbagh Singh and SPS Chauhan – were posted back to Gurgaon and Faridabad districts.

“The transfer order list contains names of Sameer Yadav, Dilbagh Singh and SPS Chauhan who were indicted by the probe report for allegedly colluding with private builders and making forged VAT inputs, VAT refunds and assessments besides tax calculations,” Sawhney’s application dated November 19 alleges. As per the government orders, Chauhan has been posted as deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC) in Gurgaon West; Sameer Yadav as DETC in Gurgaon East and Dilbagh Singh as joint excise and taxation commissioner in Gurgaon range. Sawhney has now raised apprehensions that as the officers have been posted back to the very districts where they allegedly committed the offence, “it could hamper investigations against them”.

The matter is also in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. While hearing a petition seeking action against the culprits, the high court had on October 1, 2015, directed the Haryana chief secretary to submit an action taken report and submit it within two months. The deadline is set to lapse on December 1.

The SIT, formed on the orders of the Lokayukta, was headed by IPS officer Shrikant Jadhav. It claimed that prima-facie tax evasion of over Rs 10,618 crore had taken place in the 10-year period starting from 2005. The SIT report alleged that the excise officials had helped builders, members of the rice, tobacco and cigarette industries to evade taxes. It described them of being part of a “powerful lobby” and recommended a CBI probe.
“During the inquiry it was noticed that officers of excise and taxation department, Haryana, at all levels, in connivance with the traders and builders/ developers caused a huge loss to the state. The system of tax evasion/refund by corrupt means is a well-established and unofficially approved system, which is mutually beneficial to the ETD officers and traders and builders and, hence, nobody wants to disturb this convenient system,” the SIT’s report reads.

 
 
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