Continuing his tirade against Badal family-linked Fastway Cable Network, Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday said that he has directed staff of his department to recover evaded tax with penalties from the company within five days. He said the evasion of taxes by FW network amounted to Rs 5200 crore and if cable was controlled by the state, it could provide jobs to one lakh youths.
With Sidhu refusing to relent on the issue, CM Amarinder Singh on Thursday said that action would be taken if charges of tax violations were found to be found true. He, however, categorically ruled out any censorship against Fastway/PTC News or any other cable or media organisation.
During his press conference, Sidhu was was accompanied by SL Goyal, a retired official who had served in excise, customs and CBI, to give details about the evasion of tax as alleged by the minister.
Goyal said the company had evaded excise and customs tax to the tune Rs 5200 crore till 2017. He added that while no tax was collected till 2012, the firm’s premises was raided in 2012 and some outstanding amount was charged.
According to Goyal, if Centre fails to collect tax, then even states cannot charge the dues. He also said that the in case the government fails to collect tax for five years, it has no claim left over it for that period. Sidhu added that in the GST regime, state can levy entertainment and amusement tax.
Meanwhile, reiterating his government’s stand of providing a level-playing field to TV channels and cable operators, the CM said he would not indulge in vendetta politics, but would ensure that whosoever is found guilty of tax violations is penalised.
Amarinder said he was committed to ending cable mafia in the state and would allow every organisation to compete in a healthy environment. “Let all of them come and compete for the viewers’ attention,” he said in a statement issued here.