Lottery agency penalised

Staff Reporter

PONDICHERRY: Bringing to end an old case related to sales tax evasion by a lottery agency, the Judicial Magistrate I, Swarnam J Natarajan, has sentenced seven partners of the now defunct agency to one day imprisonment till the raising of the court and ordered them to pay Rs 3,24,493 as penal interest accrued under the Pondicherry General Sales Tax Act (P.G.S.T Act).

The case of the Commercial Tax Officer was that the accused, who started a business under the name of Deccan Agency, represented by its nine partners for sale of lottery tickets in Pondicherry, failed to pay the tax arrears for three years from 1981.

Tax to be paid for 1981- 82 was Rs. 1,42,462.80; for 1982-83 Rs 1,53,844; and for 1983-84 Rs 56,381. During the pendency of the case, the agency paid tax arrears of Rs 2,82,250.80, but did not pay Rs 3,24,493 as penal interest.

On the plea of the accused to reduce the penal interest, the Assistant Public Prosecutor V. Rudrakumar said that no authority had the power to reduce it.

"Even the Commercial Tax Officer does not have the power to reduce the accrued interest", he argued.

"Since there is no provision in the P.G.S.T Act to waive the penal interest, the accused are bound to pay the penal interest to the department", the JM I Swarnam J Natarajan said and directed the seven persons, partners of Deccan Agency, Chennai, including H Anraj, L K S Gani, S S Manian and S K Ummer to pay the fine.

Mr Swarnam J Natarajan further said that he had given only a day's imprisonment under section 49 (2) of the P.G.S.T Act considering the age of the accused, who were all above the age of 65. Two of them had died during the pendency of the case.

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