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Tax evasion worth crores revealed

By Biplab Kr Dey
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TURA, Aug 1 - The Achik Indigenous Justice Initiative Forum has made a sensational revelation about how one bidi company has been evading taxes to the tune of Rs 36 crore over the past five years. The revelation comes after the AIJIF worked on a field survey of the entire Garo Hills region on the amount of taxes paid by one bidi company � Pradip Bidi.

The bidi factory, based in Bongaigaon in Assam, has been selling their products all over the Garo Hills region. Pradip Bidi is widely popular among the rank and file within Garo Hills.

According to the survey, the company does an average of Rs 2.2 crore worth of business per month and as such is liable to pay a tax of 27% of the total amount, or about Rs 60, 21000 per month. However, only an amount of about Rs 1,20000 every quarter is paid by one Ramesh Saha of Baghmara.

�Per month, a total of more than 1000 packets of the bodi are sent to various parts of Meghalaya while they only pay taxes for about 20 bags, that too every quarter. This means that each year they have been cheating the government of Meghalaya an amount of tax of Rs 7.23 crore. This amounts to a whooping Rs 36 crore in the last five year. This is a huge amount that is being converted by unscrupulous characters within the system�, said Alex K Sangma, the director of AIJIF.

The survey has also revealed that an association has been helping the bidi factory in this massive tax evasion depriving the state government of its rightful dues.

�We also found that trading of the bidis were being done by one Chandan Ghosh, who acts as the sales conduit. However we found that he did not have the requisite documents to carry on the business and there were no taxes paid by them to even the GHADC for Trading for Non Tribals (TNT)�, revealed Alex.

�We went to various whole sellers to ask them as to how many bags they ordered per month and the numbers they gave were huge. Most of them were taking on an average of 8-10 bags per month, with some as high as 85 bags. Each bag has a total of 70,000 sticks in 2800 packets in 140 bundles�, said Alex.

The AIJIF team has also questioned as to how the whole scam could have been hidden under the radar and that too for so long. �How can this company carry on this tax evasion for so long within the region when they are all aware of bidis being a part of commodities sold? There seems something seriously wrong with the system or someone within is involved in it, said coordinator of the NGO, Stubent G Marak.

The revelation of the scam has now put the scanner on other bidi companies that are all a part of sale in Meghalaya. The common companies that are popular in the region are Ranjan Bidi, Jaihind Bidi, Meghalaya Bidi, Star Bidi, Rocket Bidi among others and the scam could cross 100s of crores in lost income to the state over the time frame mentioned.

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Tax evasion worth crores revealed

TURA, Aug 1 - The Achik Indigenous Justice Initiative Forum has made a sensational revelation about how one bidi company has been evading taxes to the tune of Rs 36 crore over the past five years. The revelation comes after the AIJIF worked on a field survey of the entire Garo Hills region on the amount of taxes paid by one bidi company � Pradip Bidi.

The bidi factory, based in Bongaigaon in Assam, has been selling their products all over the Garo Hills region. Pradip Bidi is widely popular among the rank and file within Garo Hills.

According to the survey, the company does an average of Rs 2.2 crore worth of business per month and as such is liable to pay a tax of 27% of the total amount, or about Rs 60, 21000 per month. However, only an amount of about Rs 1,20000 every quarter is paid by one Ramesh Saha of Baghmara.

�Per month, a total of more than 1000 packets of the bodi are sent to various parts of Meghalaya while they only pay taxes for about 20 bags, that too every quarter. This means that each year they have been cheating the government of Meghalaya an amount of tax of Rs 7.23 crore. This amounts to a whooping Rs 36 crore in the last five year. This is a huge amount that is being converted by unscrupulous characters within the system�, said Alex K Sangma, the director of AIJIF.

The survey has also revealed that an association has been helping the bidi factory in this massive tax evasion depriving the state government of its rightful dues.

�We also found that trading of the bidis were being done by one Chandan Ghosh, who acts as the sales conduit. However we found that he did not have the requisite documents to carry on the business and there were no taxes paid by them to even the GHADC for Trading for Non Tribals (TNT)�, revealed Alex.

�We went to various whole sellers to ask them as to how many bags they ordered per month and the numbers they gave were huge. Most of them were taking on an average of 8-10 bags per month, with some as high as 85 bags. Each bag has a total of 70,000 sticks in 2800 packets in 140 bundles�, said Alex.

The AIJIF team has also questioned as to how the whole scam could have been hidden under the radar and that too for so long. �How can this company carry on this tax evasion for so long within the region when they are all aware of bidis being a part of commodities sold? There seems something seriously wrong with the system or someone within is involved in it, said coordinator of the NGO, Stubent G Marak.

The revelation of the scam has now put the scanner on other bidi companies that are all a part of sale in Meghalaya. The common companies that are popular in the region are Ranjan Bidi, Jaihind Bidi, Meghalaya Bidi, Star Bidi, Rocket Bidi among others and the scam could cross 100s of crores in lost income to the state over the time frame mentioned.