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In Service tax evasion case, CBI to grill steel unit owners
April, 21st 2011

Several top names among steel industrialists are likely to face the heat as the sleuths of Anti-Corruption unit of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are set to quiz them in the Service Tax evasion case.

CBI recently booked top Central Excise officials and four leading groups dealing in iron and steel for allegedly colluding and evading more than Rs 1.09 crore in service tax.

The agency is gearing up to summon the unit owners that includes a former politician for questioning. CBI has already raided more than 15 places including two each in Mumbai and Chandrapur, one in Madhya Pradesh and about a dozen places in Nagpur.

The sleuths are likely to question the industrialists in relation to the documents seized from their offices and homes in raids that continued on Wednesday too. According to CBI, more people, including officials, could be booked as probe proceeds.

Former assistant commissioner of central excise NP Meshram, now posted as deputy commissioner in Mumbai, has been booked along with former assistant commissioner P George Varghese, who opted for voluntary retirement in 2007, for allegedly helping private steel players evade substantial service tax on international trading. Three superintendents of central excise-DS Patil, JC Solanki and BK Adley- have also been booked in the case.

The CBI is yet to make any arrest in the case. The investigation agency is gathering evidence against the culprits before taking any precipitate action.

The officials apparently wrongly applied Section 73 (3) of Finance Act 1994 to calculate the arrears of the Service Tax applicable on transaction with foreign agents. This resulted in a lower calculation of arrears than required as per rules.

They should actually have applied Section 73 (4) of the Act that would have appropriately calculated the arrears along with a 100% penalty on the original amount in addition to the due that was supposed to be collected.

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