HIGHLIGHTING THE failure of the Municipal Corporation to collect property tax worth crores pending against Shalimar Mall, the Panchkula Mayor has written to the Municipal Commissioner questioning the alleged lenient stance of the corporation towards the defaulter.
In her letter, Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia has raised questions over the attitude of the civic officials in recovering the tax. “I have been constantly receiving complaints against the lax attitude of officials against the defaulter. It has been over five years and they have not paid tax even once, then why this lenient stance?” she asked.
Ahluwalia also sought information regarding a file pertaining to the case, which has allegedly been misplaced by the officials. The file in question contains details of the notices sent to Shalimar in the past for recovery of the tax.
“I have received complaints that a file in the case has been misplaced. It is possible that it could have been intentionally misplaced,” she wrote, urging the Municipal Commissioner to look into the issue and effect tax recovery from the defaulters at the earliest or take legal action.
Shalimar Estates Private Limited, which has been managing the Shalimar Mall in Sector 5, has not paid property tax since 2010, which amounts to Rs 6.8 crore. A number of notices have been sent to the owners in the past, but to no avail. The final notice was sent on August 18.
“Despite non-payment of taxes for the last over five years, no legal action has been taken by the MC, except sending notices. It is a huge amount and can be used for the development of the town,” alleged Panchkula resident Ajay Garg, who has also complained to Municipal Commissioner about the issue and submitted a complaint to the DGP (Vigilance), demanding a vigilance inquiry into the case.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Lalit Siwach said, “The property tax has been pending for the last five years. Why such a hue and cry now? I sent them (Shalimar) a notice after I took charge and they have requested for a personal hearing. We will decide further course of action then.”
Asked about the allegedly misplaced file, Siwach said, “I have received a complaint and will look into it. We will examine all documents available with us during the personal hearing and then decide what to do next.”
Shalimar Mall has been mired in controversies ever since it was set up. Apart from a criminal case in Panchkula for cheating as many as 110 persons, the owners have been booked by the Chandigarh Police as well. The mall was sealed last year after the owners allegedly failed to pay power bills of over Rs 15 lakh after the final notice.