Taking swift action against tax offenders, Punjab Transport Department has cancelled as many as 125 bus permits, including 31 owned by former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his family members for evasion of motor vehicle taxes.
Punjab Transport Minister Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said the action was necessitated on account of non-payment of due taxes and attempts being made by offenders to hoodwink the system to inflict loss to public exchequer.
As many as 30 Integral Coach permits belonging to Badals run Orbit Aviation Private Limited, besides one owned by New Fateh Travels has been cancelled for tax default by RTA Bhatinda authorities. Another 16 ordinary permits of Mandeep Travels have been cancelled, a spokesperson revealed later. Tax liability is pending against New Fateh Bus Service since January this year, while Orbit Aviation Private Limited has been acted against for delay in tax deposition relating to months of March till October, 2021.
The action has been undertaken in compliance with provisions contained in section 103 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Reiterating his commitment to ensure transparent and level playing transport ecosytem in the state, Warring asked the department to further pace up vigil against any attempt to fleece the exchequer. Nobody found involved in any wrongdoing would be spared, he warned.
In similar action, RTA Faridkot has cancelled 73 ordinary bus permits of New Deep Bus Service, in addition to their 3 Integral Coach Permits for what of tax amount of Rs 2 Crore 62 Lakhs. 2 Ordinary Bus Permits of Malwa Bus Service have also been cancelled, the spokesperson added.
Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, directly own over 60% of the state’s private bus services. The business, which began with 10 buses in 2007, now runs over a thousand buses including a few hundred luxury coaches.
The Badals have built a gigantic business empire with interests cutting across various sectors – transportation, media, liquor, hospitality and non-conventional energy, amongst others. In the road transport business alone, they control at least six different companies with annual revenue running into a few 100 crores.