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Friday, March 05, 2021

‘Harassment’ of businesspersons: Probe initiated, DGGI informs HC

Deeming that the bench’s message to the tax officers have been “loud and clear”, the court exempted the authorities from further appearance at the next hearing scheduled for February 23.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: February 19, 2021 2:59:14 am
‘Harassment’ of businesspersons: Probe initiated, DGGI informs HCTen officers of DGGI Surat were present before the court via video-conference on Thursday and Satish Dhavale, additional director at Surat took the lead when the officers were called to respond to the allegations. (File Photo)

After the Gujarat High Court pulled up tax officials over allegations of “undue harassment and coercion” by businesspersons, the additional director general at Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI), Surat on Thursday informed the court that “appropriate inquiry has been initiated” and that the allegations levelled in the petitions by businesspersons from Vapi and Navsari “shall be looked into by appropriate authority”.

Ten officers of DGGI Surat were present before the court via video-conference on Thursday and Satish Dhavale, additional director at Surat took the lead when the officers were called to respond to the allegations.

“According to Dhavale, an appropriate inquiry has been initiated and the allegations which have been levelled in all the writ applications shall be looked into by an appropriate authority,” the order by division bench of Justices JB Padiwala and Ilesh Vora recorded.

Dhavale assured the court that “there shall not be any further complaint against the officers of the department of undue harassment, threat, pressure, etc.,” and added that the inquiry or investigation against the culprit officers shall be in accordance with the law.

Deeming that the bench’s message to the tax officers have been “loud and clear”, the court exempted the authorities from further appearance at the next hearing scheduled for February 23.

“We do not intend to discourage or lower down the morale of all the officers before us. Our endeavour is only to bring to their notice that they should act and perform their duties within the four corners of law…,” the bench stated in its order.

The bench on February 16, in an interim order, had directed tax officials to issue a circular on four guidelines that were laid down by the court, one of which states that no recoveries should be made during search proceedings.

Three petitions were moved by proprietors of chemical businesses situated at Vapi GIDC, including a sexagenarian who was interrogated for 33 hours, and another petition by a proprietor of a business situated at Navsari GIDC alleging undue harassment by intelligence officers of the DGGI that was to “such an extent” that the businessman “attempted to commit suicide”.

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