Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 20
Punjab Vigilance Department on Friday claimed it has unearthed a massive tax evasion and drugs smuggling racket where a number of officers of the State Excise and Taxation Department were allegedly taking monthly bribes from businessmen and transporters for transporting goods in and out of Punjab without paying the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
DGP BK Uppal, who is also the chief director of Punjab’s Vigilance Bureau, and Director LK Yadav said six people, including four excise officers he identified as Varun Nagpal, Satpal Multani, Kalicharan and Japsimran Singh, and Excise Inspector Ram Kumar were arrested over bribery charges.
The sixth person was identified as Shiv Kumar, an employee with a transport company.
Two FIRS have been lodged against the accused at the Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other sections. The Vigilance Bureau conducted raids all over the state to nab the accused.
Uppal said further investigations were on. “We suspect it is a multi-crore scandal where the accused were causing huge loss to the state exchequer at a monthly bribe of Rs 2 lakh for safe passage of the goods.”
As per the FIRs, the racket ran on system of codes where the accused coded a truck of goods as “passer” and let it pass without paying the taxes.
“In some cases, tax of lower slab of the GST of the product transported was levied. In others, officials conspired with businessmen to record movement of a commodity with lower tax value than the actual good supplied.
The accused also provided accurate information on ‘safe escape routes’ for the transporters so that they don’t have to pay tax at the designated counters and provided immunity from checking on the way also.
Uppal said the Excise and Taxation department was fully co-operating with the investigation and had helped the Bureau in tracing the scandal.
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