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Probe into Silchar excise scam

Silchar, Aug. 7: Cachar district magistrate Gokul Mohan Hazarika ordered a magisterial inquiry yesterday into the excise tax evasion case running into crores of rupees to be conducted by additional district magistrate S.N. Singh in a “comprehensive manner”.

The government treasury and the local excise office unearthed the evasion of excise tax to the tune of Rs 19.55 lakh by different owners of India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) shops in the district in July this year.

However, district administration sources have revealed that the extent of total tax evasion during the past three fiscal years might reach over Rs 100 crore.

The main accused, Devottam Roy, 38, who owns a liquor shop in a mall here, has been absconding for the past few days. According to the excise office sources, he has excise tax dues of around Rs 8.26 crore.

Excise officials also sealed two liquor godowns of Roy at Premtala Road here last night.

Sources said another IMFL dealer in Lakhipur subdivision under Cachar district, Rahul Kar, has dues of Rs 11.29 crore. He has reportedly been faking the amount of excise tax due for his shop using forged documents, they added.

An excise official said the liquor shop owners are first served notices of their total excise tax levy on the basis of examination of the total turnover of their establishments, which are then cross-checked by the district government treasury. The amount is later paid to some of authorised branches of the SBI.

But the tax evaders are faking the papers, which contain the details of the shop turnovers, by forging stamps, seals and initials of excise officials and submitting lower amounts as excise tax.

Assam excise minister Ajit Singh has ordered excise offices in all Assam districts to check if there is any evidence of such fake deposits of excise tax in other districts.

He said the excise department would soon start a process of simplification of the procedure for the deposit of excise tax by liquor shop owners through a computerised system.