| (From left) Gujarat Rajya Sabha MP Purushottam Rupala, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar state BJP in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan and Nand Kishore Yadav take part in Run for Unity in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The BJP on Sunday dared the state government to recommend a CBI probe into the alleged violation of norms in reducing the value added tax (VAT) on stone chips when senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi was the finance minister.
The party also sought to bring the roles of chief minister Nitish Kumar and then advocate-general P.K. Shahi in the ambit of the CBI investigation.
The VAT on stone chips was revised from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent in the regime of the erstwhile NDA government, comprising the JD(U) and the BJP. The issue came to limelight during the recently concluded winter session of the state legislature. The ruling JD(U) accused Modi of having taken the decision of revising the VAT on stone chips to help the stone mafia, resulting into a loss of Rs 50 crore to the state exchequer.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Modi said his department issued a defective notification regarding lowering of VAT on stone chips from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent on July 10, 2007, but the office of advocate-general (education minister Shahi was the advocate-general then), the cabinet and the chief minister’s office had given the nod to it.
He said: “The state government rectified the notification on November 18, 2013, only seven months after the JD(U) parted ways with the BJP.”
Modi said according to the norms , there are different layers of functioning if any department issues any defective notification. It is the duty of the law department to first check the notification. Second, why did the cabinet and even the chief minister office did not make an objection to the defective notification.
Earlier in the day, senior BJP leaders participated in the Run for Unity — a drive for iron collection for the proposed world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. Thousands of BJP workers and students from various schools participated in the run from Eco Park to Sardar Patel statue at Chitkohra More.