Hyderabad: The commercial taxes scam is getting bigger with the recent arrest of five officials of the commercial taxes department in Nizamabad district.
The Telangana State government has told the Anti-Corruption Bureau to raid corrupt commercial taxes officials after an investigations by the CID revealed that some officials have amassed crores of rupees by siphoning off funds collected in taxes in collusion with brokers.
The taxes paid by traders were siphoned off by submitting fake challans to the government.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who himself holds the commercial taxes portfolio, directed that officials in his office must follow up the investigation every day and submit reports to him.
Initially, the scam was said to be of Rs 70 crore. Later this figure was revised to Rs 400 crore. Fresh investigations done by both the CID and the commercial taxes department, put the scam value at over Rs 400 crore.
The investigation was initially confined to Bodhan in Nizamabad district, where the scam came to light in February.
However, when complaints of similar irregularities were reported from other districts as well, the investigation was extended to all the districts.
CM angry, scam went on for decade
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is said to be very angry at the failure of top officials in the CT department to detect the scam, which has been going on for nearly a decade.
He said this exposed the loopholes in the internal surveillance system of the department, which could not detect the irregularities until some traders lodged a complaint with the government.
The commercial taxes department is the major revenue earner for the state government, contributing more than 60 per cent to the state exchequer. Such tax scams result in huge losses for the government. The CM directed officials not to tolerate this any more and to initiate stringent action against those involved.
Fast track clearance must be given for the ACB and vigilance departments to prosecute errant officials, he said.
He ordered the intelligence network in the commercial tax department to be tightened to avert future scams.
The ACB is learnt to have gathered the details of illegal assets and wealth of some commercial tax officials and raids are expected to begin soon.