Punjab Finance and Excise Minister Harpal Singh Cheema got into action mode on Saturday as he led a team of tax department officials on the Delhi-Amritsar National Highway, conducting a special check on vehicles ferrying goods to catch hold of tax evaders.
The drive was conducted near Rajpura in Patiala district, and at least 38 vehicles were detained for verification as most of them were not supported by genuine documents or E-way bills, etc. These vehicles were transporting iron scrap, mixed goods, furniture, black ash, steel pipes, rice, and bricks. A fine of around ₹60 lahk was collectively imposed on the them.
Mr. Cheema said that the special drive was conducted after he had received information surrounding the evasion of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the products being transported by some trucks and other vehicles.
“Strict action has been initiated against all the tax evaders. On the other hand, vehicles transporting goods with correct bills were allowed to pass without any harassment. The drive was aimed to deter the tax evaders and to perpetuate a message from the State government to the genuine taxpayers that there would be no harassment to them at all. The taxation department has also provided a bilingual WhatsApp Chatbot-cum-helpline number 9160500033 to assist honest taxpayers,” he said.
Stating that tax evasion would not be tolerated, Mr. Cheema said that the data mining wing of the department has been detecting tax evasion activities with the help of ETTSA (the department’s own Technical Service Agency) and various other platforms. The wing prepares reports based upon irregularities and discrepancies detected in the data, and these reports are being shared with officials concerned for necessary action, he added.
“The taxation department has also established a new Tax Intelligence Unit (TIU) to monitor the GSTN platform for better analyses of the digital data available over it,” he said.