NEW DELHI: Slamming the Modi government over the GST roll out at midnight tonight, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said it would bring back the dreaded "Inspector Raj".
In a scathing attack on the government, she said the GST rules would lead to harassment of small traders and businesses.
"At the stroke of midnight on 14th August, 1947, India won her freedom. Now, at the midnight of 30th June, 2017, freedom and democracy stand to face grave danger," she said in a Facebook post.
Mamata, a strong critic of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, said "I am shocked to find that the GST rules contain a rather draconian arrest clause which can lead to major harassment of businesses, particularly the small and medium, with some sections even being non-bailable too".
"The mockery of Inspector Raj is back," she said on the social networking site.
She pointed out that under the current VAT regime, the field officials of the state do not have the power to arrest.
But in the case of GST the "Inspectors will have the power to arrest on 4 different types of offences which can lead to jail from 1 year upto 5 years," she said.
Vehemently opposing the GST arrest clause, she said despite West Bengal's opposition to this arrest clause in the GST Council, "Government of India did not pay any heed".
She further said "In fact, in the name of GST, they have deviated in many areas from the original intent".
"I am afraid, from the midnight of today (sic), will darkness loom large in the lives of entrepreneurs and common people?" she said.