Vigilance officials found a “tax bypass” taken by lorries bringing goods to the State during a raid at the Aryankavu border check-post early on Friday. The crew of the lorries bribe officials to evade tax by taking the escape route.
R. Sreelekha, Additional Director General of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, told The Hindu that a detailed report had been sent to the government on the diversion taken by the lorries. The report said the State was losing huge sums in tax and keeping no record of the lorries. The “bypass” starts ahead of the check-post from the side of the Thirumangalam-Kollam National Highway and reaches the entry to the Palaruvi waterfalls. The stretch was prepared for laying railway tracks for the Punalur-Shencotta gauge-conversion work.
Ms. Sreelekha said even after seven raids on the check-post during the past year and a half, through which rampant corruption was detected, the route remained open. After every raid, the government was sent a detailed set of recommendations. Many of them were forwarded to the departments for immediate action. But they got stuck there. This connivance made corruption a permanent feature at the check-post. Friday’s raid exposed major corruption at the check-post of the Motor Vehicles Department. The excise check-post first checks the lorries for spirit and other contrabands.
After that comes payment of commercial tax at the check-post of Commercial Taxes Department for the goods being brought to the State.
Then, the Motor Vehicles Department check-post weighs the trucks and ascertains that the amount of goods carried tallies with the amount shown in the documents, for which tax is paid. Here, the Vigilance officials found out that the officials were being bribed to endorse the amount in the documents, though the lorries carried a couple of tonnes more of goods than the sum would satisfy.