Punjab FM gets on road to check vehicles; Detects GST evasion worth Lakhs
Punjab Finance and Excise Minister Harpal Singh Cheema went into action on Saturday, leading a team of tax department officers on the Delhi-Amritsar National Highway, performing a special check on vehicles ferrying goods in order to catch tax evaders.
The truckers, their owners, and the corporations moving goods were left astonished as when Punjab Minister for Finance, Excise and Taxation Harpal Singh Cheema joined the Tax Department teams in a special drive to check for false bills.
The drive was held near Rajpura in Patiala district, and at least 38 vehicles were stopped for verification because the majority of them lacked valid documentation such as E-way bills, etc. Iron scrap, mixed commodities, furniture, black ash, steel pipes, rice, and bricks were being transported by these vehicles. A fine of around Rs.60 lakh was collectively imposed on the them.
Mr. Cheema stated that the special drive was carried out after he obtained information about the avoidance of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the merchandise being transported by some trucks and other vehicles.
Following an early morning tea with officers at a dhaba in Rajpura at 8 a.m., the minister led the secret operation. He was spotted standing on the side of the road, chatting with drivers and reviewing documents. The minister, accompanied by senior authorities such as Taxation Commissioner KK Yadav, Additional Commissioner-I Viraj S Tidke, Director Investigation HPS Ghotra, and others, ensured that vehicles with correct documentation were allowed to go while those without were detained.
“The message to everyone is clear. No one will be allowed to evade taxes, and no ‘sifarish’ will be permitted. “We will not tolerate any laxity on the side of my department,” Cheema stated.
Around 150 vehicles carrying iron scrap, mixed goods, furniture, parcels etc were inspected during the special drive. Out of these, 38 vehicles were held for verification since the majority of them lacked valid paperwork or e-way bill.
Strict action has been initiated against all the tax evaders. The goal of the drive was to discourage tax evaders and to consistently convey to real taxpayers that they would not be harassed in any way by the State administration. A bilingual WhatsApp Chatbot-cum-helpline number 9160500033 has also been made available by the tax administration to help upstanding taxpayers.
Mr. Cheema stated that tax evasion would not be permitted and that the department’s data mining division has been using ETTSA (the department’s own Technical Service Agency) and a number of other platforms to identify tax evasion operations. He stated that the wing creates reports based on anomalies and contradictions found in the data and that these findings are shared with the relevant authority for any necessary action.
According to him, the tax agency has also created a new Tax Intelligence Unit (TIU) to keep an eye on the GSTN platform and conduct better analysis of the digital data that is made available through it.
- Around 150 vehicles checked.
- 38 persons detained for not having genuine documents.
- Fine of Rs 60 lakh to be imposed.