An inter-state racket of large-scale evasion of excise duty and value-added tax (VAT) involving fake bills and private transporters has been unearthed during a special operation carried out by the intelligence wing in Bathinda. As the Punjab government continues to
lose hundreds of crores yearly due to smuggling of trade goods by organised mafia, an operation supervised by Bathinda inspector general, intelligence, Dr Jatindra Jain has found that some bogus firms operating from border towns have been facilitating trucks carrying various goods to enter the state without paying VAT or entry tax by issuing them bills of the goods from within the state. Most of the goods coming to Punjab are from Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The main commodities include groceries, pulses, sugar, edible oils, iron and scrap.
Intelligence officials told HT that so far five such bogus firms have been found -- Sonu Goyal & Company, Jagan Nath Pawan Kumar and Sons, Shri Bala Ji Trading, Sunil Enterprises and Pawan Kumar Sohan Lal and Sons.
About the modus operandi, assistant excise and taxation commissioner Jaspinder Singh said that these enterprises operating from hidden premises near Muktsar's village Killianwali on the Punjab-Haryana border have been indulging in billing of goods in the border town by showing these as being transported from one location to another within Punjab.
"The so-called factory premises are situated in such places where even cars cannot enter, while the mafia have been showing loading of trucks and canters from the same premises," intelligence official said.
The scam came to light when, following a tip-off from the intelligence wing, AETC Jaspinder Singh intercepted a canter carrying mustard oil near Killiawanli tax collection barrier. Upon verification, the bills from Killianwali to Amritsar were found fake.
Jaspinder told HT that department has been contemplating an FIR against the erring firm, besides imposing a penalty to the tune of Rs. 30 lakh. Further investigations are still on, he said.