PUNJAB’S LOCAL Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu Thursday targeted Fastway Transmissions Pvt Ltd (FTPL), which allegedly has links with the Badal family, and alleged that they had evaded service tax worth Rs 2,600 crore since 2008.
The company has denied the allegations.
Addressing a press conference, Sidhu produced copies of showcause notices issued to FTPL by the Directorate of GST Intelligence on January 9, 2018 to the MD of the company Gurdeep Singh, its CA Rajesh Mehru, CEO Peeyush Mahajan and its GM (accounts) Chaman Lal Katyal regarding alleged evasion of service tax of Rs 303 crore. The notice states that “FTPL has been required to showcause as to why the said amount of Rs 303 crore should not be recovered from them together with interest and why penalty should not be imposed upon them.”
Sidhu claimed that the department had acted only after he had held press conferences about the issue. He added that the company had not responded to the showcause notices yet. Sidhu was flanked by former Superintendents of Central Excise department S L Goyal and Amarijit Singh Dhaliwal. Sidhu said Dhaliwal was falsely implicated in cases of sexual harassment, spying and others only because he was acting as a whistleblower in the case.
Sidhu said the showcause notices were vindication of claims he had been making about the tax evasion. He said the service tax department did not act on the alleged evasion of Rs 2,600 crore by Fastway since 2008.
He said the service tax department had been sitting on the records seized from the said company on January 10, 2013 and was not conducting any investigation. He said the recovery of a major part of the tax evaded had gone out of limitation period of five years and in the whole process, the Punjab government had been deprived of its share of about 62 per cent out of the amount of service tax. “We had a share of about Rs 1,500 crore, which is a huge amount for the state.”
A statement by Gurdeep Singh Jujhar, MD of FTPL, said the service tax issue was investigated by preventive and intelligence wings of the department. After long-drawn investigation, the department issued a showcause notice through which the liability of LCO (Local Cable Operator) was fastened on FTPL.
The statement added, “Despite Fastway expressing its apprehension to various higher authorities that Amarjit Singh Dhaliwal is putting pressure GST/service tax department to issue unwarranted showcause to FTPL for which showcause on the same liabilities has already been issued to various LCO… No evasion of tax was ever noticed… GST/service tax department has not quantified or confirmed any tax liability.. It is purely a legal and procedural issue and to be settled by competent courts… adjudication of notice is under process… Fastway has remained regular in deposit of its taxes and has never evaded any tax.”