Breaking Decide on Fastway tax dues: Sidhu to CM


27 Jun 2017
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Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday asked the Chief Minister’s Office to take a call on the recovery of alleged tax evasion of Rs20,000 crore by Fastway Transmissions Private Limited.

Addressing a press conference here, Sidhu quoted rough figures provided by Supreme Court advocate Vineet Bhagat.

Hinting at former Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sidhu said he would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion. He said the CM could order action as the matter pertained to the Excise and Taxation Department or he could pass on the responsibility to the Local Bodies Department under the amended rules. “We are ready with the ground work to proceed in the matter,” he said.

He said: “The Local Bodies Department has no proposal to levy any fresh taxes on cable operations in the state. We will first ensure facilities to people before charging taxes.”

Bhagat claimed that Fastway had not been paying charges of Rs15,000 annually per connection as Punjab entertainment duty to the state government. He also showed a communication from the office of the Chief Commissioner of CGST and Central Excise, Chandigarh Zone, dated July 1, which read that the records of Fastway, Ludhiana, were under scrutiny of the anti-evasion staff of jurisdictional commissionerate.

Sidhu showed an order of the Competition Commission of India, dated July 2012, which said the conduct of the Fastway group “has not only resulted in harm to the consumers but also to the TV industry as a whole by depriving them access to the relevant market”.

Showing the Fastway dominance, Sidhu showed a TRAI letter, which pointed out that at one point of time out of the total 24.4 lakh set top boxes in the state, 21.5 lakh belonged to Fastway Transmissions.

Firm refutes charges

Speaking for Fastway Transmissions, Gurdeep Singh Jujhar said the press meet by Sidhu “is another attempt to defame us. It is a case of vendetta. Bhagat has fought cases against Fastway on the same issue and lost all”. Peeush Mahajan, CEO of the company, said Fastway had no monopoly in Punjab. Other companies here included Hinduja, Godfather Cable and MC Transmissions. The state had six DTH companies as well, he said. “Fastway has a tamper-proof system and it has been audited by Broadcasters and Broadcasting Engineering Corporation of India Limited, an agency of the Central Government,” he added.
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