The present ruling council of Kochi Corporation, which entered into its third year a few weeks ago, might go down in history as infamous for the number of controversies that cropped up during its term. The latest in that list is allegation of tax evasion raised during the council meeting on Tuesday. The Opposition had alleged that the Corporation failed to act against a Five Star hotel at Vyttila for allegedly evading tax.
Opposition Councillor K N Sunil Kumar raised the allegation in the council meet. “The Corporation is turning a blind eye to the illegalities of the hotel. It is clear that the hotel was given permission as a residential apartment and is functioning without the Corporation’s clearance,” he said. He said that in an RTI reply to him, the Corporation has specifically said the hotel is functioning without its permission.Other councillors joined Sunil Kumar and sought immediate action against the hotel. Mayor Tony Chammany said appropriate action will be taken against the hotel if any illegality is found. He also assured action if anyone in the Corporation is found helping the hotel bend the rules.
The Corporation Secretary has been assigned to look into the matter and file a report before the next council meeting. “We have no ‘pressure from above’ holding us back in taking actions against the hotel. And even if someone wants to pressure, we won’t care a bit,”Mayor said.Incidentally, the issue came to light just after the Corporation ordered an enquiry into the Chennai Silks tax evasion. The Opposition had disrupted all council meets in October alleging that the ruling body kept a file related to the tax evasion of the firm to help them.