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Sleuths make first arrest of service tax defaulter
August, 06th 2013

The first arrest of a service tax defaulter in the country has been made after government got the powers recently to crack the whip on evaders.

A courier company owner was arrested for allegedly evading service tax of about Rs 70 lakh in the first such case after Finance Minister P Chidambaram made applicable provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to arrest such offenders.

Sudip Das, proprietor of a courier company in Kolkata, was arrested by service tax officials last week, official sources said today.

Das, who runs a courier agency M/s Blue Bird, collected service tax from various companies to the tune of about Rs 67 lakh but allegedly did not deposit the collected tax to the exchequer, a statement issued by Commissioner of Service Tax Kolkata said.

As evasion of service tax of Rs 50 lakh and above has now been made a cognizable offence, 48-year-old Das was arrested on Friday last and produced before a court in Kolkata. "The court has ordered 14 days judicial remand," it said.

Phone calls made by PTI to the company did not yield any response.

The Finance Minister has proposed provisions for arrest of service tax defaulters in Section 91 of Finance Bill 2013.

The Section provides power to arrest a person for non-payment of collected service tax, by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Central Excise.

The officials got the power to arrest a defaulter after the passage of the Finance Bill on May 10.

This is for the first time that service tax rules have been amended to attract the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in line with customs and central excise. Earlier, the officials did not have any power to arrest a person for service tax evasion.

An offender is punishable with imprisonment of upto seven years in case of amount of service tax evasion is Rs 50 lakh and more.

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