A month after the Haryana government raised questions over an SIT report that claimed to have unearthed an alleged VAT evasion scam of Rs 10,618 crore in the state, Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday asked the Enforcement Directorate to investigate and ascertain the amount involved after scrutinising 57 FIRs provided by the state government. ED has been asked to submit a report within two months.
The alleged VAT evasion was exposed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Haryana Lokayukta in 2015. Headed by an IGP-rank IPS officer and comprising of senior police and excise and taxation department officials, the SIT had in March 2015 claimed that contractors, builders cigarette dealers, rice exporters and others had evaded VAT to the tune of Rs 10,618 crore in various districts of Haryana.
Last month, Haryana government, however, told the High Court that it strongly denied the claims of the SIT, adding that the figure was exaggerated by the latter just to make its report sensational.
“Without going into/understanding the legal provisions and without hearing the version of the dealers whose cases were examined, the SIT quantified, the figure of Rs 1100/- crore which was further extrapolated to Rs 10000/- crore to make its report sensational,” Raj Bahadur Singh Tewatia, Additional Excise & Taxation Commissioner (Legal) of Haryana had told the High Court.
ED on Wednesday told the High Court bench that it had been provided 25 FIRs before August 29 and investigation was in progress in the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) cases. “The copies of remaining 32 FIRs have been provided on 30th August 2017. These FIRs are being scrutinised and appropriate action as per law will be initiated,” the ED affidavit said.
In its interim recommendations earlier, the Lokayukta had asked the government to start recovery proceedings in the cases without any delay and also take appropriate action against the guilty officials.