STC stays recovery of Rs 98 lakh road tax dues from Akali leader

Balwant Garg Tribune News Service Faridkot, February 15

A month after the district transport and revenue officials started the process to recover road tax arrears to the tune of Rs 98.39 lakh from an Akali leader here, the State Transport Commissioner (STC) has stayed the recovery proceedings. The move followed the failure of the district transport office in producing any record to show that the Akali leader was duly informed about the arrears in the last over 18 years. While staying the recovery proceeding recently, the STC had directed the Akali leader to appear before the transport authorities here on February 4, but he failed to do so.

On January 1, the department had issued a notice for recovery of Rs 98.39 lakh from Benazir Transport Company, owned by the leader's family, as arrears of road tax, interest and penalties under Section 11A of Motor Vehicle Taxation Act. Earlier in 2002, the state government had directed the circle revenue officers to recover the road tax arrears of Rs 69 lakh from the leader. The latter had challenged the recovery by filing a civil suit in the court in 2002.

His petition was dismissed in December 2006. After the Akalis came to power in February 2007, the files of Benazir Transport Company "disappeared" mysteriously from the Transport Department office here. For the next 12 years, there was no correspondence for the recovery of the arrears.

Now when the department asked the leader to deposit the dues before January 8, the latter approached the STC and demanded fresh calculation of the road tax claiming that his company was shut down on May 27, 2000. Information procured under the RTI revealed that from February 4, 1998, to February 28, 2001, the Transport Department had issued 37 notices to the Akali leader for the recovery of dues. Interestingly, the amount was mentioned as arrears of land revenue on February 28, 2001, by the state government.

While the Transport Department kept defending its case against the leader till December 2006, it did not duly inform the defaulter about the dues.

You may also like...