HYDERABAD: Terming the tax evasion by oil traders a heinous crime, a division bench of the Hyderabad High Court has recently directed the Telangana government to order for a CB-CID probe into transactions pertaining to all oil traders in the state, and that the probe agency should file its report within three months to the government and that the latter should file its action taken report on the issue within a month thereafter.
“The acts of deliberate evasion of tax by adopting devious methods should be put down with a heavy hand. The state cannot soft-peddle such grave acts and remain complacent by merely collecting differential tax and penalties. In such cases, the action of the state must not only be palliative but also preventive so that unscrupulous traders are kept under check and the economy of the state is not weakened,” the bench observed.
The bench comprising Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy and Justice T Amarnath Goud passed this order while dealing with a petition by Akash Foods. The petitioner company sought the court to declare action of the authorities of commercial taxes department in collecting post-dated cheques for `32 lakh without any assessment order passed determining the liability for such collection, as illegal. It sought for return of those cheques.
On the other hand, the commercial tax officer concerned, in his counter affidavit, while stating that those cheques have been dishonoured, has alleged that out of 106 CST way bills collected by the petitioner company for various vehicles carrying oil out of the state to Maharashtra and Delhi, only 41 vehicles reported at the exit checkpost showing exit of the said vehicles. During an enquiry it was revealed that the dealers claimed to be located at Nanded are bogus, unknown and non-existing.
After hearing the case and perusing the material on record, the bench said that if the allegations by the officer were found true then they reflect fraudulent operations of high magnitude aimed at evading tax legitimately due to the exchequer. So far, neither criminal cases have been registered nor the matter has been entrusted to any investigating agency to probe the alleged fraudulent transactions so as to bring the culprits to book, the bench pointed out.
The bench directed the state government to institute an investigation by the CB-CID and to direct the said agency to investigate into the allegations made in the above counter affidavit. The bench made it clear that the scope of investigation should be extended to similar transactions pertaining to all other oil traders in the state, and the agency should submit its report to the government within three months and that the latter submit its action taken report on the issue along with the investigation report before the court within one month thereafter. The bench posted the matter to April 2 next year for further hearing.