Cheema inspects goods vehicles, finds lakhs in GST evasion

Cheema inspects goods vehicles, finds lakhs in GST evasion
Cheema inspects goods vehicles, finds lakhs in GST evasion

A Punjab Cabinet Minister politely asked truckers on Saturday to park their vehicles away from the highway and show the documents of the loads they were carrying on the Shambhu-Rajpura-Sirhind section of GT Road.

Tax Department teams led by Punjab Minister for Finance and Excise and Taxation Harpal Singh Cheema conducted a special drive to check fake bills that left truckers, their owners, and shipping companies astonished.

Around 8 am, the minister led the secret operation after having tea with officers at a dhaba in Rajpura. As he stood on the roadside, he talked to drivers and examined documents. The minister was accompanied by senior officials, including the Taxation Commissioner KK Yadav, Additional Commissioner-I Viraj S Tidke, Director of Investigation HPS Ghotra, and others, to ensure that trucks with proper documents were allowed to leave and those without were detained.

Everyone has a clear message to hear. Tax evasion and ‘sifarish’ will not be allowed. My department will not tolerate any laxity,” Cheema told. According to sources, the minister had been receiving first-hand information about GST evasion. “The minister decided to lead from the front and ensure that no vehicle without proper documents escapes,” they said. During the special drive, around 150 vehicles were checked for iron scrap, mixed goods, furniture, parcels, etc. As most of these vehicles did not have genuine documents/e-way bills, 38 were detained for verification.

The minister’s inspection at Rajpura triggered hundreds of truckers to stop midway. Ambala and Khanna were seen as places where trucks were halted to avoid action. In most cases, lower-level officials are easy to deal with, but when the minister himself leads the raid, there is no way out. I decided to wait until the road cleared. “It is impossible to get complete billing in our trade,” said a trucker who had loaded iron scrap from Mandi Gobindgarh. Tax evaders have been taken to task and vehicles transporting goods with correct bills have been allowed to pass without harassment, according to Cheema.

Later that evening, a press release from the department announced that the detained vehicles would be fined approximately Rs 60 lakh.

With the help of ETTSA (the department’s own Technical Service Agency) and various other platforms, Cheema reiterated that tax evasion would not be tolerated in the state.