Private buses are carriers of illegal trade

BM, 29-10-2012 04:45:20

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During raids last week, commercial tax sleuths found them transporting goods and commodities, helping traders to evade tax

When sleuths of the department of commercial taxes raided private buses operating in the city, they were stunned by what they uncovered. A sizeable chunk of household and consumer goods and commodities sold in the city is being transported illegally by private buses. Bus operators were helping businessmen evade paying taxes and were profiting from it.



Private bus operators can only carry passengers, but raids conducted on Thursday and Saturday last week found that they were conduits for a flourishing illegal trade. They were facilitating the transport of goods such as pepper, cardamom, betel nut, ghee and butter as well as electrical and electronic goods, gold and silver jewellery and ready-made garments.
Buses plying on certain routes ‘specialised’ in certain goods.
For instance, buses plying from Mysore and Kerala were found transporting a range of spices and rubber, while buses from Pune and Mumbai ‘specialised’ in ready-made garments, electronic and electrical goods and jewellery.
“Using private buses to carry out illegal trade and evade taxes is rampant,” a senior official from the commercial taxes department told  Bangalore Mirror . “Private bus operators are only permitted to carry passengers. But we have found that they indulge in illegal transport of goods and rake in huge profits. This is causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. If we put together all the commodities that come to Bangalore everyday through different routes, the loss in taxes would be 10 crore.”
Over 15 teams of the CT enforcement wing swooped down on private bus operators, checking loading and unloading operations in several locations including Race Course, Gandhinagar, Kalasipalya, and Majestic.
Over 150 buses were checked on the first day and 50 cases booked, generating an instant revenue of over 2.5 lakh. On the second day, over 275 buses were checked and penalties amounting to 1 lakh were levied in 20 cases. More than 70 cases are still being investigated, officials said.
Mysore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kerala, Hosur, Hubli, Belgaum and Tumkur are prominent routes through which commodities were being illegally transported. Cashew and paan masala products were being brought in from Mangalore, while buses playing from Chennai were conduits for milk products such as butter and ghee.
Senior officials claim that this illegal transport of goods has become widespread ever since mobile checking squads were deactivated.
” When contacted, department top brass confirmed that a drive was on to check massive illegal trade leading to huge tax evasions, but they refused to divulge details.  “Yes, there was drive on the issue (private buses transporting goods),” said Subhodh Yadav, additional commissioner of commercial taxes.

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