While Jammu and Kashmir government always makes an excuse of lack of resources for developmental projects, it has failed to recover about Rs 600 crore sales and commercial taxes from business houses some of which are owned by ministers, politicians and their relatives.
In a shocking revelation, the state’s taxation department claimed that business houses – including the ones owned by minister of state for Home Nasir Aslam Wani, Irrigation and Flood Control minister’s daughter Arshi Taj and senior opposition leader Moulvi Iftikhar’s brother Amjad Abbas and son Imran Raza – owe more than Rs 563 crore in sales and commercial taxes to the state government.
The disclosure was made by commissioner, commercial taxes department, Kifayat Hussain Rizvi in an Action Taken Report (ATR) filed, along with a list of defaulters, before the division bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue.
The name of MoS Home has been reflected as defaulter of sales tax for 2005-06 and 2006-07 for an amount of Rs 5,47,543.
Arshi Taj has been declared defaulter for 2005-06 and 2006-07 for an amount of Rs 5,23,125 while Amjad and Imran are defaulters for an amount to the tune of Rs 1,85,76,708.
Some of the other defaulters include Power Grid Corporation for an amount of Rs 49,24,29,147, BSNL Rs 25,45,06,705 (matter sub-judice in High Court), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Rs 52,59,001.
The revelations came to fore after a Jammu-based RTI activist Balvinder Singh filed the petition in the High Court seeking recovery of sales tax arrears.
A senior official of the tax department said that during the years of militancy, tax evasion became lucrative for the rich and the mighty in the state.
“Now even when the situation has improved, they don’t want to pay to the government. If a small businessman owes money to the department he is taken to the task.
But nobody dares to touch the high and mighty including ministers and MLAs,” he added.