Raid, FIR trigger showdown between CGST dept, bizmen

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A day after central GST (CGST) commissionerate got an FIR registered against the owner of a garment factory and his associates for obstructing CGST raid on his firm, several city businessmen opened a front against the CGST department and held a protest outside Daresi police station on Friday. On Thursday, Naveen Jain, owner of a garment factory, his associates Rajesh Mahajan, Vaneet Rai and 60-70 unidentified persons had been booked for obstructing the raid and snatching documents from the team. The raid was conducted in a case of tax evasion.

Businessmen accused the raiding team of trying to extort money from them while forcing them to pay lakhs of rupees as donation to a government school located in Bhundri. The businessmen too gave a complaint to police, demanding an FIR against the CGST officers for allegedly taking away Rs 15 lakh and electronic equipment from one of the raided factories. Senior officials of the CGST department denied the charges and instead claimed that a mob had entered into a scuffle with the raiding party, snatched all the records from them and even snatched all the government documents including search warrant and panchnama.

In a statement, CGST commissionerate, Ludhiana, said, “On the basis of specific intelligence, the department found out that Akshita Creations and Mehul Collections, Ludhiana, were claiming wrongful refunds on exports by gross overvaluations and were purchasing low quality garment without issuing invoices from a supplier SK Deepak Knitwears, Vakilan Mohala Purana, Bazar, Ludhiana.” “During search on the business premises, an amount of Rs 1.12 crore of GST was deposited voluntarily by Akishta Creations. A large number of Kachcha slips were recovered from SK Deepak Knitwears, showing supplies without GST invoices. A total of 68 envelopes containing kachcha slips of supplies of goods pertaining to 68 parties were also recovered. Kachcha Cash ledgers showing details of supplies were also recovered which were unaccounted in their books and accounts.”

“The staff was in the process of quantifying the GST liabilities and recording of statements of the owners, but in the meantime, a mob of 60 to 70 persons led by Vinod Jain and accompanied by Vineet Rai forcibly entered the premises and snatched all the records after a scuffle with the CGST officers. They also snatched all the government documents like search warrant, panchnama from the CGST staff,” the department said. The statement read, “The matter was reported to the police. Later, Vineet Rai asked the officers to leave the premise. All the staff directly went to Division No 4 police station, Daresi and reported the matter in writing. A formal FIR was registered against Naveen Jain, CA Rajesh Mahajan, Vineet Rai, Jain and 60-70 unidentified persons in the mob for obstructing public servants in discharge of public functions, causing disappearance of evidence, assault and wrongful confinement”

Businessman Vinod Jain, who gave the complaint to the police seeking an FIR against CGST officers, said, “Some persons entered my factory and created ruckus. The persons who claimed themselves to be as GST officials locked my factory and misbehaved with me. The officials also closed the CCTV cameras, but with the help of other shopkeepers, the officials were caught and police were informed.” Meanwhile, Youth Akali Dal district president Gurdeep Singh Gosha demanded strict action against the “goondaraj of GST, income tax and other departments.” Gosha, who also is the president of Business Bachao Morcha, said, “On the one hand, CGST officials harassed the businessmen, and on the other got an FIR registered against them. What is even worse that police did not even verify the fact before registering an FIR. We have given 10-day ultimatum to police to register an FIR, failing which we will take out protests.”

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