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Tax row: Shalimar Mall owner says Panchkula civic body targeting him

The MC had assessed Shalimar Mall as the biggest tax evader, in the house meeting held on June 30, stating that the mall has pending taxes worth over Rs 4.63 crore for over seven years.

By: Express News Service | Panchkula |
July 9, 2021 3:12:43 am
Meanwhile, Aggarwal, after submitting a representation with Panchkula MC on July 3, held a press meet in Chandigarh on Thursday. (Express Archive)

A week after the Panchkula MC declared Shalimar Mall the biggest tax defaulter, announcing the formation of a committee for fresh evaluation of the property, owner of Shalimar Mall, RK Aggarwal in a press conference on Thursday alleged that the civic body is acting in a mala fide manner against him in relation to the issue of property tax.

The MC had assessed Shalimar Mall as the biggest tax evader, in the house meeting held on June 30, stating that the mall has pending taxes worth over Rs 4.63 crore for over seven years. The civic body also decided to take stern action as per the rules against the mall owner.

Meanwhile, Aggarwal, after submitting a representation with Panchkula MC on July 3, held a press meet in Chandigarh on Thursday. He called the allegations a “white lie” adding that “nothing could be farther from the truth.”

Stating that he had in fact not just paid all the taxes in whole but had paid in excess, he said, “If one just makes a small effort to check records of MC Panchkula online, nearly Rs 7.5 lakh of property tax from Shalimar Mall is still lying deposited in excess with the MC. So I have in fact paid more property tax than actually invoiced.”

Giving a background to the case, Aggarwal said that after the property tax notification of Haryana Government in 2013, over Rs 33 lakh was deposited towards property tax. “But MC Panchkula raised a baseless property tax bill-cum-notice of Rs 4.26 crore in 2017 in respect of Shalimar Mega Mall. The same was challenged by the mall’s management before the Punjab and Haryana HC and the court directed us to deposit Rs 1 crore and file an appeal before the Divisional Commissioner (Ambala Division), which was done. Subsequently, the Divisional Commissioner (Ambala Division) remanded the matter to Commissioner, Panchkula MC, for passing a speaking order, which was passed by on March 30 this year.”

As per Aggarwal, the then MC Commissioner in a speaking order directed the Zonal Taxation Officer to re-assess the property tax of Shalimar Mall. “The bill-cum-notice for Rs 4.23 crores was also set aside. It was further directed that the amount of Rs 1 crore as already deposited by us in compliance of order passed by HC be set off by MC, as per rules at the time of re-assessment of property tax.”

Aggarwal also emphasised that after the reassessment of property tax of Shalimar Mall from financial year 2008-09 to 2020-21, an amount of Rs. 18.75 lakh was found deposited in excess with the MC. Subsequently the MC raised bill cum notice for property tax and fire tax for financial year 2021-22 for Rs 11.28 lakh. The civic body recovered the said amount from the excess amount already lying deposited with the MC. Accordingly, after adjustment of property tax and fire tax for the FY 2021-22, an amount of Rs 7 lakh is still lying deposited in excess with the MC Panchkula.

Aggarwal also questioned the MC for not demanding tax from other violators. “Why have other similar sized properties been kept out of purview of this arbitrary resolution, despite insufficient payments of property tax in violation of property tax notification. It is clear that the MC house has passed the said resolution with intentions of targeting just my property. Why detailed information regarding payment of property tax by NH22 Mall, Amravati Enclave is not available on the Website of MC Panchkula?”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Mayor Kulbhushan Goyal said, “The MC House has rejected the re-assessment that had been done by the former MC Commissioner and the work for creation of our own committee for reassessment of taxes is already on-going. I have not received any representation from the owner yet. Anyhow, we will be reassessing the taxes on our own by the committee being formed.”

Aggarwal has already given a representation to the Additional Chief Secretary(ACS), Urban Local Bodies department, Haryana in this regard and called upon the office to cancel the resolution passed by the MC, Panchkula in their house meeting.

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