PANAJI: During the recent state assembly election held on February 4, the total seizure of goods by the commercial taxes department was worth Rs 4 crore.
Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes Rajan Saterdekar Thursday said that goods valued at around Rs 4 crore were confiscated during the month-long period of the model code of conduct, extending from January 4 to February 4.
“While some of the goods were clearly intended as freebies, the investigation with regard to the remaining goods is in progress,” he said. “All the goods did not arrive as freebies and some of them were brought in with the purpose of dodging taxes,” said Saterdekar. He said that the department is currently ascertaining the fine to be imposed on the owners and added that so far, Rs 50 lakh penalty has been collected. The seized goods were deposited with the respective returning officers and some of them have been released after levying the penalty, said the additional commissioner.
During the model code of conduct period, commercial tax inspectors had seized a variety of goods ranging from sewing machines, pressure cookers, mobiles, electrical appliances, water coolers and white goods. As the election date (February 4) drew near, seizures of two-wheelers and costly wrist watches were made.
Saterdekar said that industrial goods that came in illicitly were for the purpose of evading taxes and have been released after levying penalty. A Panaji shop where mobiles were discovered has also been allowed to reopen although inquiry is in progress, he said.
To prevent the distribution of freebies, the commercial tax department had issued a circular according to which all vehicles carrying white goods such as two-wheelers, TVs, mobiles, electrical appliances had to seek prior permission from the department. Local dealers of consumer goods had been asked to keep inventory of goods to ensure that political parties did not lure voters. Dealers were told to keep their records ready for inspection to examine if there was a sudden jump in sales during the January 4-February 4 period.