Excise Dept Detects Rs 770 Crore Billing Scam

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PATIALA – The Punjab Excise and Taxation Department has detected a fraud expected to be over Rs 770 crore spanning over the past few years wherein traders from Gujarat sold ceramic tiles to firms in Punjab without proper billing. The state officials are in touch with their Gujarat counterparts to get to the root of the scam.

At least 50 firms in Punjab are under scanner for accepting consignments without paying full tax.

Official sources said the scam came to light a few days ago when a vehicle loaded with ceramic tiles was intercepted on the Barnala-Raikot road. They said the vehicle was carrying tiles worth Rs 3 lakh from Metro City Tiles Pvt Ltd, Morbi, Gujarat, to Gupta Sanitary and Hardware Store in Chandigarh.

The vehicle was being escorted by a “passer” (tax smuggler) in a car. “On checking, it was found that the passer was carrying a parallel set of documents, issued by H&R Johnson India Ltd, Mumbai, in favour of Maa Mahakali Traders, Jalandhar, for Rs 7.56 lakh. The driver and the passer stated that the tiles were to be delivered to the dealer in Jalandhar, but to evade tax, forged transit documents were prepared in favour of a Chandigarh dealer,” said Anurag Verma, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab.

When summoned, the Jalandhar dealer denied having bought the tiles.