'Cases of tax evasion against Jang Group legal'

ISLAMABAD: Cases of tax evasion against Jang Group of Newspapers are legal and justified as these were filed on the basis of solid documentary proofs of tax embezzlements by this group through different tactics.

This was stated by Regional Commissioner Income Tax Corporate Region Karachi Dawood Khan speaking in PTV discussion on Wednesday. Other participants of the programme, which was conducted by Khalil Malik, were Additional Collector Customs Karachi Muhammad Arshad, Former Manager Circulation and Business Jang Group Chaudhry Muhammad Ishaq and Former Secretary General All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation and Chairman Supreme Council of CBA Unions Jang Group Mushtaq Ahmad Sudhan.

Dawood said scrutiny of accounts revealed that the Jang Group was involved in tax evasion to the tune of about Rs 2 billion during the last four to five years. He, however, said these figures are not final. The Jang Group, he said, eluded this amount by concealing its actual income figures, which were detected by the tax authorities through difference in circulation figures at Audit Bureau of Circulation and Income Tax Department. He said all legal requirements were met before filing cases against the Jang Group and the authorities have all documentary proofs against it for tax evasion.

To a question as to why this action was not taken against Jang Group during Benazir government, he said there was no such evidence that time and the tax department does not take an action against any party without having solid proofs of tax evasion. "Now when we have found documentary evidence of tax evasion, the action has been taken against the party," he said. He went on to say that the tax authorities were ready to defend the cases even in courts. To a question as to why accounts before the year 1994 were not scrutinised, he said according to rules, the tax authorities can investigate the tax evasion of five years.

Additional Collector Customs, Karachi, Muhammad Arshad while taking part in the discussion said the Jang Group has been eluding custom duties by concealing its actual circulation of newspapers and obtained newsprint on subsidised rates more than its quota. "Here again the circulation figures provided by the Jang Group at ABC and Income Tax Department differed," he said.

Chaudhry Ishaq said the Jang Group has been hiding the actual circulation figure from tax department and evaded the income tax by different tactics. He said being a confidant of Jang Group he was assigned for revenue collection on 7 percent commission. He said the commission was paid to him through cheque which was later returned to them ( Jang Group) in cash. In this way the Jang Group evaded income tax through fake payment of 7 percent commission on revenue collection, he added.

Sudhan said Jang Group also deprives its employees from the rights given to them under the labour laws through different tactics such as hiring the men on contract. He said as the 80 percent of employees of Jang Group are on contract, adding, which is the exploitation of workers. Jang Group also sacked hundreds of its workers without having any moral ground, he maintained.

The News International Pakistan