Plea to put toll scam under I-T lens

Godbole said that he felt that under-reporting was more from the I-T point of view.

Mumbai: The amicus curiae appointed for the Mumbai-Pune Expressway toll collection issue informed the Bombay high court (HC) that he found the allegations of the petitioner to be valid.

The amicus curiae also mentioned that there seemed to have been violation of Income Tax rules by the contractor by under-reporting toll collection amounts. He however said that he needed some more time to provide more grounds for the case.

A division bench of chief justice Dr Manjula Chellur and justice N.M. Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar wherein he had alleged that the contractor had already collected the amount assured before the expiry of the 15 year contract period.

Mr Wategaonkar wants the government to take over the tollbooths so that the contractors don’t cause loss to the state exchequer.

In the last hearing the HC had appointed senior advocate Girish Godbole as amicus and had asked him to inform the court as to whether the court should proceed with the hearings.

On Wednesday, Mr Godbole told the HC that he noticed some serious issues — toll collection after cash flow achieved, registration of concession agreement and the related stamp duty issue and under reporting of toll income which he thought was serious.

Mr Godbole said that he felt that under-reporting was more from the I-T point of view.

He told the HC that as there was an order of the Allahabad High Court in a similar income achievement in toll collection case he needed time to study circumstances
and conditions of contract.

The court accepted his request and adjourned the matter for November 8.

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