Navjot Singh Sidhu puts Punjab CM Capt Amarinder in a fix, asks to take call on recovery of ‘tax evasion’ by Fastway

Sidhu said that he will ask the chief minister to table the matter in the cabinet meeting scheduled for August 4.

Published: 02nd August 2017 08:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2017 08:48 PM   |  A+A-

Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu (File | PTI)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday asked Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh to take a call on the recovery of alleged tax evasion to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore by Fastway Transmissions Private Limited, a company that had the alleged patronage of Badals during the SAD- BJP rule.
Without naming former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sidhu said that the long saga of corruption by the previous regime would now be taken to its logical conclusion.
He further stated that the onus is on the new government. “If the government is unable to do anything, we will be termed cowards. I want a permanent solution to this,’’ he said.
Sidhu further hinted that chief minister had wished he (Sidhu) would go a little slow on the issue. “My friend Bunny Sandhu was told by the CM that I (Sidhu) should go slow and had asked him to convey the same to me. I told him (Sandhu) that I will meet the CM personally and talk on the issue,’’ said Sidhu.
Sidhu added that he will ask the chief minister to table the matter in the cabinet meeting scheduled for August 4.
“The CM could order action as the matter pertained to the Excise and Taxation Department which is under him or he could pass on the responsibility to the Local Bodies Government Department under the amended rules since July 1. If he wants, the government can pass an ordinance in this regard and my department can audit the past records of several years of this company. We are prepared with the entire ground work to proceed in the matter,’’ he said.
Sidhu quoted the rough figures provided by Supreme Court advocate Vineet Bhagat on the alleged tax evasion and said that Fastway had not been paying charges of Rs 15,000 per annum as the Punjab entertainment duty to the state government. The Punjab government levies Rs 50 as entertainment tax per television connection from the cable operators all over the state.
Calculating the impact of the loss of revenue to the government taking into account a figure of 40 Lakh connections of Fastway (as mentioned in the report of Competition Commission of India of 2012), it would come to (40L x 50 x 12 x 6) Rs1440 Crores, which instead of finding its way to government exchequer was diverted to the pockets of private persons, Sidhu said.
“This is a consolidated figure for tax loss impact from 2010 to 2016, the actual figure may go up to Rs 20,000 Crore," he added.

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