State Tax Department initiates inquiry into “GST evasion” into railway bogie leaseholders.

Jammu, Fab 12 (RNA): The State Taxes Department, Jammu has initiated a full-fledged inquiry into large scale goods and services tax evasion by railway bogie leaseholders. The Additional Commissioner, State Taxes, Administration and Enforcement, Jammu, Mr. Mohammed Shahid Saleem has sought cooperation from the railway authorities under Section 72 of the Jammu & Kashmir Goods & Services Tax Act, 2017 and the Central Goods & Services Tax Act, 2017 which provides that all officers of the Police, Railways, Customs and those officers engaged in the collection of land revenue including village officers shall assist the Tax Officers in implementation of the Goods & Services Tax Act. The State Taxes Department, Jammu has already vide communication No.ACSTJ/Adm/Misc./ PA/266-269 dated 19.12.2018 sought intervention of the Railway authorities at Jammu to allow the officers / officials of the State Taxes Department to function from the agreed location at Parcel Site, Railway Station, Jammu to check evasion of tax, which, at present is going on at large scale.

The State Tax Department in its communication has mentioned that on 10th of Feb. 2019 the enforcement team of the State Taxes Department conducted a surprise check at Railway Station Udhampur on the basis of specific inputs that huge consignments of Beedis / Readymade Garments / Vehicle Spare parts etc are being shipped to the State through Jammu Mail (10th of February, 2019) and are destined to Udhampur. Acting on this input all the commodities were seized at Railway Station Udhampur after inventorizing the whole lot and at present are under custody of State Taxes Department for further penal action under the GST law. It is apt to mention here that this seizure was performed while facing stiff resistance from the Railway Police Force employees stationed at Udhampur who tried their best to ensure that these illegally transported consignments are not handed over to the State Taxes Department, an illegal action which attracts penalty under Section 132 (g) of the SGST and CGST Acts, 2017. The railway authorities at Udhampur however gave full cooperation and ensured seizure of the goods by the State Taxes Department. The approximate value of the goods seized is more than Rs.25 lacs.

On 06.02.2019, 50 nags of Pan Parag/ Pan Masala were unloaded at Platform No. 1 at Railway Station, Jammu out of which only 16 nags were having proper GST documents and were transported outside the Railway Station by the concerned. However, it was found that 32 nags of Pan Masala, which were not accompanying the mandatory GST documents, were rebooked at the Station itself and transported outside the State to avoid its seizure by the State Tax Officials. This practice has been adopted by the lease holders and noticed time & again by this Department and all this is possible only with the connivance of the lower level Railway personnel posted at Railway Station, Jammu, the letter mentions. The action attracts penalty under Section 132 of the CGST & SGST Acts, 2017.

It has been mentioned in the communication that a lot of information is still pouring in with respect to tax evasion going on through railways especially by the lease holders. To act tough against such illegal practices, the State Taxes Department is conducting a thorough inquiry in the matter and has sought assistance of the Railway authorities at Jammu under Section 72 of the Central / State Goods & Services Tax Act and has required following information/ actions immediately:

1) Detail of all the leaseholders who are involved in transhipment of commodities through all railway bogies coming into J&K from rest of the country and their GSTIN, if any (Name/ Address/ GSTIN).

2) Details of commodities transhipped by the following Railway Bogie lease holders to J&K from Delhi during the year 2017-18 & 2018-19 alongwith their GSTIN details:-

  1. Xtra Freight Forwarders, D-246, Gali No. 10, Near Metro Station, Laxmi Nagar Delhi-110092 (Pooja Express – 12414).
  2. SP Clearing & Forwarding 103-A, Block-A, DDA Flats, Sarai Kalekhan, Nizamudin East, New Delhi-110013 (Jammu Mail, 14033).
  3. M/s Pardeep 805, Gali Door Wali Paharganj, New-Delhi-110055 (Jammu Mail, 14033 & Shalimar Express, 14645).

3) Necessary instructions be issued to the RPF personnel to not interfere in the enforcement activity of the Central & State Taxes Teams to ensure assistance and compliance of GST laws at every level as per Section 72 of the CGST & SGST Acts, 2017. The enforcement teams shall cooperate with the Railway authorities & RPF personnel in every manner and will hand over inventory of the seized goods to them for record purposes. Obstructing or preventing Tax Officer in discharge of official duties of State Taxes Department attracts penalty under Section 132(g) of the CGST & SGST Acts, 2017.

4) Any commodity reaching J&K through railway bogies (leased) should never be allowed to be transported back to any other location out of the State to avoid State / Central Taxes. Such illegal practices are punishable under Section 132(l) of the SGST/CGST Acts, 2017. Necessary instructions be issued to Railway staff accordingly.

5) As already required and even agreed, space may be provided to the State Tax enforcement team to remain stationed at Parcel site of Jammu Railway Station to safeguard the Central and State GST revenue shares.

While intervention and action is sought immediately on the above points from the railway authorities at Jammu, the State Taxes Department, Jammu has also issued notices to three main railway lease holders transporting taxable commodities to Jammu namely Xtra Freight Forwarders, D-246, Gali No. 10, Near Metro Station, Laxmi Nagar Delhi, SP Clearing & Forwarding 103-A, Block-A, DDA Flats, Sarai Kalekhan, Nizamudin East, New Delhi and M/s Pardeep 805, Gali Door Wali Paharganj, New-Delhi-110055 asking them to furnish HSN wise summary of the Goods transported/booked for transportation from Jammu to Delhi & Delhi to Jammu for the period July, 2017 to January, 2019, Individual/dealer wise consignments booked for Jammu from Delhi & vice versa for the period July, 2017 to January, 2019, Ledger in respect of supply of services provided by you w.e.f 01.07.2017 to till date and Account of lease/rent paid to the railways in lieu of lease rights from 01.01.2017 to 31.01.2019. The information has been sought within a week’s time failing which action under Goods and Services tax laws shall be initiated including blacklisting and recommending cancellation of railway lease in their favour.

The State Taxes Department, Jammu has also taken up the matter with the Director, Vigilance, Police (Railway Board), New Delhi, Central Bureau of Investigation and Commissioner, Central Excise, Jammu to intervene in the matter for protecting the Central & State Goods & Services Tax from further evasion through Railways. Besides, the issue will be also brought to the notice of GST Council for required corrective measures. (RNA)