June 24, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: As per the media reports Punjab’s local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu here on Friday has urged the Punjab chief minster Amarinder Singh to act against business cartels allegedly allowed to flourish under the Badal-BJP rule, claiming his department had uncovered tax evasion worth Rs 684 crore by Fastway Transmission Private Limited.
It is said that the media channel is closely related with former deputy chief minister Punjab Sukhbir Badal and reportedly has share in the company itself, though its managing director is Gurdeep Singh Kohli. While Sukhbir Badal has denied he has any business or other interest in Fastway, Gurdeep Kohli has termed Navjot Sidhu’s allegations baseless.
Speaking in the Vidhan Sabha, Navjot Sidhu said while his department had issued notices to the company for the alleged violations, it was now for the Chief Minister to register an FIR and order a Vigilance probe against the company that had caused huge losses to the state exchequer, media reports said.
“If we do not act now, we will be cowards,” he added while exhorting the chief minister.
Voices from various political circle has been propping up for action against the Badals over alleged “sand, cable and drug mafia” that thrived under the previous government.
Navjot Sidhu further claimed that the company evaded service tax worth Rs 227 crore (by paying just Rs 23 crore against a liability of Rs 250 crore); entertainment tax worth Rs 184 crore, sales tax worth Rs 100 crore (Rs 220 crore if interest and fines are included); Rs 83 crore as unpaid charges towards digging of roads for laying cables; and Rs 100 crore as charges and interest for using poles of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for running the cable, reads a quote from the report published in an English vernacular.
“Isn’t it strange that the company that started with Rs 25 lakh capital made a profit of Rs 30 crore immediately and gave nothing to the treasury in 10 years of the Akali-BJP rule? My department has already started serving notices on Fastway Transmission for violations and unpaid local government taxes,” the minister reportedly said in the state assembly.
He also demanded a separate probe into alleged under-reporting of the total TV connections and cable operators engaged by the company. “Only 1.25 lakh cable connections were shown, but 80 lakh connections actually exist. They even used Reliance to lay their cable, while the telecom giant was laying its own underground optical fiber network,” said the minister.
Congress MLAs Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Harminder Singh Gill, Kuljit Nagra, Fatehjung Bajwa, Inderbir Singh Bolaria and Kushaldeep Dhillon backed Sidhu, saying they would ‘dig out’ Fastway cables in their constituencies, notes The Tribune (TT).