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Top Excise officer suspended
Refused to refund Sales Tax of Sekriís kin
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 26
Industrial units owned by relatives of the Parliamentary Secretary from Batala Ashwani Sekri have got refunded fraudulently sales tax worth Rs 1 crore from the Taxation Department. This has been reported by the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Gurdaspur, Tajinder Singh Virk to higher authorities of the department.

Mr Virk had rejected the case for the refund of another Rs 70 lakh to the units owned by the family of the parliamentary secretary. However, he now has been suspended allegedly for not bending to the whims of the powerful ruling party politician.

In a report sent by Mr Virk to the higher authorities of the department it was alleged the Sekri family owned three yarn making units at Batala including Abhinav Cotspin, Abhinav Cotspin Unit II and Ms Janak Machines Pvt. All the said units have exemption from sales tax as per the schemes of the Punjab government.

During 2004-05 gross turn over of both Abhinav Cotspin units was Rs 20,58,33,581 and of Janak Machine Pvt. was Rs 2,37,71,315. VAT tax system was implemented in the state on April 1, 2005.

After the implementation of VAT kin of the parliamentary secretary floated three trading firms including Radhika Associates, Rosy Sales Corporation and Sony Traders.

After the registration of the trading firms turnover of Janak Machine Pvt. increased 10 times in a few months. Turnover of other industrial units also went up. Turnover of the units was shown to have increased manifold where as power consumption in the units remained the same. Total turnover of units was shown to have increased to Rs 37 crore.

Since the units are exempt from sales tax, owners demanded a refund of 4 per cent of the turnover i.e Rs 1.70 crore. Out of it Rs 1 crore has already been paid and the present AETC stopped the payment of Rs 70 lakh. The AETC has alleged that companies were demanding a refund fraudulently. These have produced false bills and have not deposited the sales tax for which the refund was being sought.

Entire sale and purchase of the said units was shown to have taken place from the trading firms registered in the recent past. Surprisingly the trading firms have been shown to have told to have sold the material to the said unit at profit margins ranging from 0.22 per cent to .42 per cent. If the amount was refunded it would be to please politicians it has been alleged in the report.

Mr Ashwani Sekri when contacted denied the charges. He said that Mr Virk was pressing for shifting the office of Sales Tax Department from Batala to Gurdaspur. Local industrialists were opposed to it. It requested the officer many times but he did not pay any heed to my requests. Thereafter a delegation of industrialists from Batala led by him met Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who ordered the suspension of the officer.

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