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Rs 5cr VAT evasion on cigarettes found, erring transporter faces recovery
July, 16th 2013

In probably the biggest recovery so far from a transporter for helping evasion of VAT on cigarettes, the excise and taxation department is sending notice of recovery for Rs 5 crore to a Phagwara-based transporter, Sadhu Freight.

According to sources, the amount was finalized on Monday evening which included VAT of Rs 2.75 crore and penalty for evasion.

The department had reportedly raided five transport companies in Jalandhar and Phagwara a few days back after getting information that they were transporting goods while helping the traders to evade tax. Papers related to transportation of cigarettes have been recovered from Sadhu Freight, they said.

"We asked the transporter to reveal the names of consigner and consignee, but they refused. In such cases, the Punjab VAT Act provides that the tax and penalty are to be recovered from the transporter if the latter does not reveal the name of traders," revealed deputy excise and taxation commissioner Sarojani Gautam Sharda. She confirmed that notice for recovery of Rs 5 crore was being sent to the transporter.

Sources revealed that Nakodar-based traders of cigarettes were under the scanner of the department. "Cigarettes had the highest VAT of 55% and in this case, the computations were very realistic as prices of local brands were factored in. It will be very difficult to refute these figures as we have taken the realistic costs of local brands," an official said. The transporter had also tried to drop names of senior political leaders, but that did not help, sources revealed.

Meanwhile, the department has tightened the noose around bakeries also and a few sweet shops have also come under its scanner, as they were trading in bakery items also, sources said.

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