Claiming to have a strong case following more than a month-long probe into the alleged evasion of VAT worth Rs 100 crore in cement imports from Pakistan between 2007 to last September,the Punjab excise and taxation department is likely to get an FIR lodged into the matter.
“The FIR in the case is imminent,likely in this month only. We have collected a good number of documents,which can be ground for getting an FIR lodged,” said Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Jaspinder Singh,who has been leading a team of the department’s Economic Intelligence Unit in connection with the probe.
He added: “Investigations have revealed that false affidavits were given by six importers,who had floated 15 dummy firms on the names of different persons to get imported consignments of cement released from the Customs at Attari. The bills of entry bore fraudulent signs of persons who were shown to be the owners of the dummy firms. At many places,the same persons have different signatures.”
Claiming that they had a watertight case for an FIR,Singh said: “Under Section 108 of Customs Act,Customs house agents of importers have given statements that six importers had used 15 dummy firms.”
Asked about the quantum of the scam,he added,”The customs department had pegged it at Rs 100-crore evasion,but we are yet to calculate the exact figure.”
After conducting a probe into the alleged scam,the customs department at Attari had sent a voluminous report to the excise and taxation department,which began its own investigations more than a month ago.
The report named six persons — Mukesh Mahajan,Abhishek Jain,Harish,Karan,Kumar Gaurav and Raghav Aggarwal — blaming them for floating bogus companies and indulging in VAT evasion.
The bogus firms acted as a buyer in the “high seas sale” in which the actual importer — who places the order with Pakistani-based cement manufacturer — sells it to other buyer (based in Punjab) before the actual import takes place. Such a sale in commercial parlance is called high seas sale and the buyer is known as the high seas buyer. The companies were shown located at places like Delhi,Una and Jodhpur besides Amritsar and Jalandhar in Punjab.
The customs department,in its investigations,had observed that the cement imported from Pakistan was sold in Punjab,but VAT was evaded. The authorities corroborated the same by going through the records of the truck union and tracked the movement of cement imported from Pakistan to destinations in Punjab.