The Commercial Taxes has issued clarification in respect of a video uploaded on social media by InGoa 24 X 7 under title “High Voltage Drama” pertaining to a 3.38 minute duration video showing a team of Government Officials exiting a restaurant at Calangute and boarding their vehicle to allay the doubts among the general public due to incorrect reporting of the incident as the video and the coverage are misleading and likely to create confusion.
The Commercial Taxes Department, Government of Goa, as its routine enforcement activity, by issuing a lawful Order dated 12/01/2024 u/s. 67 of the GST Law and u/s. 73 of the Goa Value Added Tax Act, 2005 had taken up an enforcement activity/visit in respect of a Taxpayer having its business place located at Calangute, Bardez, Goa and a Team of Department Officers headed by Shri Gouresh Pilgaonkar, Deputy Commissioner, Mapusa ward were deputed for search visit.
It is a routine enforcement activity undertaken by the Department depending upon data analysis and other leads where tax evasion/non-compliance to Law is suspected, the enforcement is taken up by deputing team of Officers. The work of the team is to bestationed at the business place of taxpayer during its entire normal business hours i.e. from opening time, till its peak business hours or closure for the day for gathering data on its actual sale figures for the day for estimating its turnover and tax liability. The team also gathers data from the inspection of books of accounts, other documents and the footfall of customers at the business place for estimating correct turnover. This is a routine procedure for any enforcement activity relating to tax administration.
On 13/01/2024, the team had entered the business place of taxpayer at Calangute at around 7.30 p.m. and was stationed there gathering data and discharging its lawful duty till end of peak business hours by 1.30 a.m. of 14/01/2024. The team has successfully completed enforcement work as per proper procedure and gathered the data and further proceedings u/s. 73 or 74 of the GST law will follow as per prescribed procedure.
When the team was exiting the business place after successful completion of visit, some unknown persons attempted to speak to the team comprising of four male & 3 female officials and elucidate details of the enforcement activity. The persons had started video camera and verbally claimed that they were journalist, however they had neither introduced themselves disclosing their names and the media organization they were representing nor showed their Identity cards.
The team had no valid reason or legal obligation to respond to them by answering their questions and disclose the details of a quasi-judicial official activity on the public road at such odd hours when they were returning home after tiresome field work for more than 6 hours.
The failure to respond to unknown persons is being misconstrued on social platforms as is evident from the comments by netizens terming/suspecting this as an illegal activity by Government Officials.
Hence, by this Press Note it is hereby clarified that said enforcement activity was lawfully undertaken by the Department after following all legal provisions and as per the set procedure without any violations of any legal provisions.
The details of visit, data collected, identity of taxpayer, other details which are the official records and part of quasi-judicial proceedings could not have been revealed to anyone except the statutory authorities under the Law in the manner prescribed.
The taxi used by the Officials was hired from GTDC by the Department prominently displaying the name board of this Department on the front and rear glass of vehicle as required. It was not any taxi procured by any Officer from taxi stand as being commented upon by some netizens on Social Media.