HC seeks govt reply on non-payment of stamp duty by toll agent

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed Revenue Ministry of Maharashtra Government to file a reply to a writ petition alleging non-payment of registration fees and stamp duty amounting to crores of rupees since 2005 by a toll collecting agent of seven municipal corporations in the state.

Public Prosecutor J P Yagnik made a statement in the court that the revenue authorities had called for reports from these 7 municipal corporations in the state pertaining to payment of registration charges and stamp duty payable on the agreements made by them with M/s Konark Infrastructure which was asked to collect toll/Octroi from vehicles at toll nakas.

In view of this statement, a division bench of justices Naresh Patil and A M Badar, on May 5, asked the Revenue department to file its response within six weeks.

The petition, filed by Jeet Pratap Satyanarayan Singh through lawyer Laxman Kanal said Konark Infrastructure was the toll collecting agent of Municipal corporations in Bhivandi, Nashik, Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar, Mira-Bhayander and Akola.

The corporations had entered into agreement every year with Konark company for collecting toll/Octroi from vehicles at check nakas. It was the bounden duty of the company to pay stamp duty under the Bombay Stamp Act and also register the document with the Registrar under the Registration Act.

However, Konark Infrastructure allegedly failed to pay the charges from 2005 resulting in heavy losses to the exchequer to the tune of crores of rupees, the petitioner, a 67-year-old social activist, contended.

He also prayed that the amount may be recovered from the company and urged that the respondents may be prosecuted for failing in their duty to pay the stamp duty and registration charges during the period.

The evasion of amount for stamp duty and registration fees of the agreements in question from the year 2005 till date runs into crores of rupees, which in a way is loss to the state as public exchequer is affected.

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