Representational picture
Representational picture

BHOPAL: The Economic Offences Wing is all set to close cases against gutkha proprietors as it could not find any ‘financial irregularities’ in their business. The team of EOW had conducted raids on Gutkha factory in Govindpur industrial area, January last year. It was estimated that the factory owners had committed tax evasion of over Rs 1,800 crore.

The teams had conducted raids on the production units of Rajshri Gutkha, Kamla Pasand and Black Label Gutkha. The team has found stock worth over Rs 100 crore during the raid.

Sources informed that the investigating agency has ‘not been able to trace any irregularities in the business’ and they are planning to shut the case shortly. The EOW officials are not ready to speak on the issue.

It was alleged that the Guthka production companies were involved in various financial irregularities, including tax evasion. Allegedly, the gutka proprietors had manipulated the books by not disclosing the production quantity. The business houses showed low production and thus evaded paying taxes to the state government. It is estimated that tax evasion of more than Rs 1,800 was committed by the industrialists.

During the raids, the team found around 500 workers - residents of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and other places – engaged in production work at the units. Some of the child labourers were also found working on the premises. The labour department was called to take the action in this connection. The teams on detecting adulteration in material had called the food and drugs department to check the product quality. On the other premises, the team came across a tobacco pouches packaging unit. The excise department was called to check the stock. However, with the investigating agency ‘not finding any concrete evidence of financial anomalies’, the industrialists who were under scanner till now can take a sigh of relief.

GST department not pleased

Sources claimed that the ‘GST officials’ were not much pleased with the raids conducted by the EOW as they considered it as ‘encroachment’ in their area of work. However, the EOW officials claim that they acted upon getting the information about huge tax evasion on the part of the Gutkha industrialists.

Things not the same anymore

Raids on the gutka production units were conducted during Congress regime on January 10, 2020. The then SP, Arun Mishra had led the team. Many things changed thereafter. BJP again came to power toppling Kamal-Nath-led Congress government, and soon after months long lockdown followed. Many officials of the EOW too have been shifted.

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