A day after the UT excise and taxation department penalised Hotel JW Marriott in Chandigarh for ‘illegally charging” actor Rahul Bose GST on two fresh bananas, UT Advisor Manoj Parida ordered an inspection of all hotels and restaurants in the city to check if they were charging citizens for tax-free items.
The orders were issued Sunday morning to Excise and Taxation Commissioner cum Deputy Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar.
Confirming the development, Parida told Chandigarh Newsline, “We were shocked to find such blatant violations of GST rules in Chandigarh where generally, public awareness is high. I have directed the excise commissioner who is the deputy commissioner here to start a big drive to check all hotels, shops and restaurants to detect such violations.”
“I invite citizens to bring to our notice any such unethical illegal practices. Strict, quick and exemplary action will be taken. Consumer rights won’t be allowed to be crushed by unscrupulous elements who take advantage of the consumer’s ignorance about tax-free items…,” he further said.
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Following Parida’s orders, the excise and taxation department on Sunday constituted different teams comprising excise taxation officers (ETOs). Sources said the ETOs plan to visit hotels and restaurants as decoy customers to detect violations.
Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rajeev Chaudhary said, “Three teams have been constituted for checking. If any citizen feels that he/she has been illegally charged, they can contact us or send in a complaint with the bill.”
After Rahul Bose’s tweet on how he was charged Rs 442.50 for two bananas, Excise Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar had ordered an investigation, after which the hotel was fined Rs 25,000.
A three-member team had visited the hotel on Thursday and seized all relevant records. The committee comprised Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rajeev Chaudhary and Excise and Taxation Officers RS Chugh and Arun Dheer.