A small outlet selling steaming and spicy ‘kachoris’ a popular snack in Uttar Pradesh in a narrow lane of Aligarh has come under the lens of commercial tax department. The outlet’s owner Mukesh Kumar has a whopping annual turnover of around Rs 60-70 lakh but does not pay any tax. During a search conducted by the officials of special investigating branch (SIB) of commercial tax department (Aligarh range), it was found that Mukesh was a ‘crorepati’ but did not have GST (goods and services tax) registration. Located near Seema Talkies in Aligarh, the ordinary-looking shop sees brisk sale throughout the day. Mukesh has been running the shop for the last 10-12 years and earned a name in due course of time. Deputy commissioner, commercial tax (Aligarh range), Ravindra Pal Singh Kauntiye, said “We had to search for the outlet. We initially conducted a recce by watching the turnout of customers at different timings. After making an assessment, we got a search warrant on June 21. During the survey, the seller himself gave out the details which indicated that his turnover was in lakhs of rupees.” Kauntiye, along with joint commissioner HPR Dixit, assessed the volume of raw material, number of customers, fuel used to make an estimate of Mukesh’s income.
The SIB conducted the search following a complaint received from Lucknow. According to officials, the annual turnover of Mukesh might go beyond Rs 1 crore. “Till March 31, businessmen having a turnover above Rs 20 lakh were required to have registration for the goods and services tax (GST) but from April 1, the limit has gone up to Rs 40 lakh. This ‘kachori’ seller, despite having a high turnover, had no GST registration,” Kauntiye said. “We have issued notice to Mukesh who has expressed readiness to have GST registration,” Kauntiye said. This may just be the tip of an iceberg as Mukesh is not even among the big ‘kachori’ sellers of Aligarh and there are bigger names who might have been evading tax. Officials of the department do not rule out massive tax evasion by such roadside stalls selling snacks. According to officials, there are about 600 kachori sellers in Aligarh.