THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tinku Biswal, the Commissioner for State Tax, is learnt to have gone on leave in the backdrop of the fiasco over erroneous VAT arrear notices and differences of opinion with Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac. On Friday, she did not report for duty despite having scheduled a video conference with deputy commissioners.
Highly-placed sources told TNIE that the FM’s office and Biswal had not been on good terms even before the present issue. Recently, the FMO had, in an email, asked the commissioner’s office to send details of the faults identified in GSTR-1 and GSTR 3B filing of selected dealers. However, Biswal had refused to furnish classified information on GST defaulters. The FMO had sought the details after a review meeting in which Biswal disclosed that the department had identified major instances of evasion which would fetch a substantial penalty amount to the government.
In her communication to the FMO, Biswal is learnt to have said some of the details were property of the GST Council and could not shared without its permission. She had also raised apprehensions over the data’s safety as it would be accessible to several staff in the FMO.
“The commissioner had earlier shared consolidated data on the defaulters. She was right in her decision not to share more details as they could have been misused,” said a source.
“If the defaulters get access to the details, they can file revised returns before the November 30 deadline and make huge savings as a GST defaulter is liable to pay 100 per cent penalty, that is an amount equivalent to the tax evaded with 18 per cent interest,” said the source.
No difference of opinion: Isaac
Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac told TNIE that Tinku Biswal was going on leave for personal reasons. “She had earlier sought the six-month child care leave she is entitled to and is now availing it. PWD secretary Anand Singh will replace her,” he said. He denied any difference of opinion with Biswal.