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ISLAMABAD: The Inland Revenue Officer of the Regional Tax Office (RTO) Rawalpindi and Assistant Commissioner Inland Revenue (Indirect Taxes) Muzaffarabad have divergent viewpoint on the seizure of two truckloads of six million counterfeit cigarettes, causing revenue loss of over Rs12 million to the national exchequer.

The RTO Rawalpindi had submitted an incident report of the seizure of these counterfeit cigarettes last week to the FBR Member IR Operations.

On the other hand, Assistant Commissioner Inland Revenue (Indirect Taxes) Muzaffarabad has conducted an inquiry in the said incident of seizure of counterfeit cigarettes by the Inland Revenue Enforcement Network of the RTO Rawalpindi.

An Inland Revenue Audit Officer at the FBR’s Regional Tax Office in Rawalpindi reportedly stated that no claimant of the seized counterfeit cigarettes had contacted them since the product was recovered on April 15 during a raid.

The IR officer was one of the team members who intercepted two trucks carrying 300 packarites of counterfeited brand ‘Classic’ and 300 packarites of counterfeited brand ‘Kissan’ on Expressway Murree near Lower Topa.

The officials had recorded statements of the drivers who confessed to load the counterfeit cigarettes from Muzaffarabad and were destined to a wholesale market in Rawalpindi.

The counterfeit cigarettes were allegedly manufactured in the Wayward factory in Rawani, Muzaffarabad.

However, Muhammad Khalid, Assistant Commissioner Inland Revenue [Indirect Taxes] in Muzaffarabad, said in an inquiry report that he personally probed the matter from various goods forwarding agencies in Muzaffarabad city, but in the absence of booking/receipt number, no record/information regarding the booking/loading of the said material was found.

According to the report, he joined his duties at business premises of M/S Wayward Tobacco Company in Muzaffarabad on March 29 this year and since then round the clock monitoring of the manufacturing unit was being carried out.

He said that no inward/outward movement of vehicles loaded with any kind of raw material of finished goods has been observed at the manufacturing unit, the report added.

Lawyers, members of the civil society and students have repeatedly protested in Muzaffarabad against the factory, but the government has yet to initiate action against it.

The FBR’s incident report said worth of the seized cigarettes was Rs18.9 million with the tax evasion of around Rs12.6 million in the form of the federal excise duty and sales tax.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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