GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - With an investigation by the BIEO (Bureau of Investigation Economic Offences) detecting irregularities in as many as 24 bonded warehouses, the Excise department has now formed nine teams to verify the quantum of levy and VAT due from the liquor firms.The teams have been directed to verify the available stock and tally them with the permits issued and stock registers. The verification is expected to be completed this month itself, sources said.
Earlier, a BIEO investigation had found that the bonded warehouses did not deposit ad valorem levy and VAT to the tune of several crores of rupees. Some bonded warehouses were trying to evade taxes to the tune of Rs 10.54 crore. In one such case, a bonded warehouse has an outstanding amount of Rs 42.17 crore, payable to the Excise department when a 300 per cent penalty is added to the defaulting amount, according to the BIEO investigation.
“There was a huge difference between stock registers and physical stock. Apparently, the bonded warehouses did not report the actual stock in their possession,” sources said.
Under the earlier laws that were in effect till September, 2016, for the IMF liquor stored in the warehouses, the ad valorem levy under the Excise Act and VAT were paid at a stage, when liquor stock is lifted by the retailers from the bonded warehouses. But under the amended system, operating with effect from September, 2016 ad valorem levy and VAT are required to be pre-deposited, for the entire stock, kept in the wholesale warehouses.
Fourteen of the 24 bonded houses where the BIEO conducted raids and detected the anomalies last year had moved the Gauhati High Court challenging the findings. The bonded houses say the BIEO did not take into account certain factors like breakage and stocks which were unfit for consumption.
Though the Excise department had slapped notices to the defaulter firms, the court had stayed the action against them in the case of 14 bonded warehouses which had moved writ petitions.
Sources in the Excise department said the bonded warehouses were trying “mislead” the government regarding their stocks, which eventually were or would be diverted to the retail market.
The government is in the process of amending the Excise Act which will have provisions for imprisonment in the event of evasion of taxes by the liquor firms.