State Legal Metrology department controller states in an affidavit submitted in HC regarding two city-based firms
The stamping fee over Rs 9 crore was evaded by two Ludhiana-based measuring tape manufacturing companies-FMI Ltd and Freeman Measures Limited-in the past six years. This was stated in an affidavit submitted by Dr Ranjit Powar,Controller,Legal Metrology,Punjab,before a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur in the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.
The department has suspended four inspectors,who were posted during the period when the evasion took place,on charges of dereliction of duty.
Earlier,the Punjab government had suspended licences of the two companies after the High Court had taken serious view of the matter and had stated that the companies had indulged in mass evasion of various taxes for several years.
The matter came under judicial scanner after a PIL submitted by Delhi-based Advocate N K Jain,who had sought action against the alleged large-scale evasion in stamping or verification fees by the industries in connivance with officers of various state as well as central departments.
According to the affidavit submitted by Controller,Legal Metrology,an inquiry was conducted about the volume of measuring tapes manufactured and the returns submitted by them to the Central Excise department,which were then compared with the returns the firms had submitted to the Legal Metrology department.
It is clear that by omitting to report and get the actual number of tapes manufactured stamped by Legal Metrology department,the two concerns contravened provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) and also evaded a huge amount of fee due to the government, Dr Powar submitted.
According to the affidavit,while Freeman has deposited Rs 3,37,70,578,FMI has deposited Rs 2,73,53,905 as the fee evaded for stamping weights and measures.
Legal Metrology has identified seven manufacturers of tape measures (five in Ludhiana and two in Jalandhar) and has taken action against the defaulters manufacturing tape measures without obtaining a licence and committing other offences.