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Posted at: Jul 13, 2018, 12:02 AM; last updated: Jul 13, 2018, 12:02 AM (IST)

Info panel seeks report on stamp duty evasion

Sushil Manav

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12

Amidst allegations of rapid shortfall in the collection of revenue in terms of stamp duty, allegedly due to wilful evasion by private contractors and concessioners and reluctance of the authorities to provide information, the State Chief Information Commissioner Yash Pal Singhal has sought a report from the Revenue Department in this regard.

Passing an interim order on the appeal filed by RTI activist Ajay Kumar Bahl, Director of NGO “Ek Sangharsh”, Singhal has recommended that the Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Department, might consider the agreements submitted by the appellant to see if proper stamp duty had been paid.

Singhal had also recommended that the ACS might take the necessary steps for the recovery of adequate stamp duty if it had not been adequately paid and send a report to the Commission within two months.

Bahl had sought information under the RTI Act when he came to know that organisations like Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and toll road companies had been executing concession agreements by affixing Rs 100 stamp duty instead of the actual prescribed amount.

Alleging that stamp duty worth Rs 500 to 700 crore had been evaded in the past 10 years, Bahl had sought information about the rate of the stamp duty for public private partnership (PPP) and build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects, provisions under which entities like HUDA, MCG, PWD, NHAI, Rapid Metro, DMRC etc are exempted from the payment of stamp duty to the government, project-wise details and stamp duty paid and so on for the past one decade.

However, when Bahl failed to get complete information, he approached the State Information Commission in appeal.

Bahl alleged that not only government agencies, but even in cases where private firms were involved, the requisite stamp duty had not been paid.

“Agreements worth crores of rupees have been executed in the past some years in case of the Badarpur toll, Faridabad- Gurugram toll, Delhi, Agra road extension, extension of Metro from Faridabad to Ballabgarh, extension of Metro in Gurugram up to the HUDA City Centre, Rapid Metro in Gurugram, Expressway between Delhi and Gurugram and waste management plant at Bandhwari for Gurugram and Faridabad etc where proper stamp duty has not been paid,” he alleged.

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