Decided on April 22,1998

Biswa Bikash Sengupta Appellant
Commercial Tax Officer Salt Lake Charge Respondents


M.K.Kar Gupta (Technical Member) - (1.) IN this application under Section 8 of the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal Act, 1987, applicant has prayed for an order quashing the seizure of books of accounts and documents made on February 21, 1997 from the business place of applicant and also for an order directing the respondents to refund the amount of Rs. 50,000 paid by applicant on February 24, 1997.
(2.) THE applicant's case is that he carries on the business of manufacturing industrial rubber goods under the trade name and style of M/s. N.B.S. Rubber Industries. His two factories in Calcutta are situated at 104, S.K. Deb Road and 202, Jessore Road. The applicant is duly registered as a dealer under the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941 (in short, "the 1941 Act") and the West Bengal Sales Tax Act, 1954 (in short, "the 1954 Act"). The assessments of the applicant were completed under the 1941 Act and 1954 Act up to the period March 31, 1994. Returns for the period up to December 31, 1996 were submitted and the next return was scheduled to be due on April 30, 1997. Applicant, however, paid the taxes up to the period January, 1997 in terms of the provisions of the relevant Act. On February 21, 1997, respondent No. 1, Commercial Tax Officer, Salt Lake Charge, visited the business place of applicant at 104, S.K. Deb Road along with some Inspectors of the said Charge at 11.30 A.M. They took out the files, books of accounts and documents from the racks and almirahs of applicant without disclosing their identity. After this, they obtained some pieces of plain paper from the applicant, wrote various things on these papers and asked the applicant to sign on the said papers in the manner as was directed by them. They took away the books of accounts and documents as were available at the said business place. They also took away certain other papers which were not related to the business of purchase and sale of the applicant. They did not hand over any receipt to the applicant for taking away the said books of accounts and documents from the custody of the applicant, although they were requested to grant such a receipt. Before leaving the business place, they directed the applicant to deposit a sum of Rs. 50,000 by February 24, 1997 and stated that if such deposit was made the books of accounts and documents would be released immediately. They also threatened the applicant that unless the said amount of tax of Rs. 50,000 was paid by February 24, 1997, coercive steps would be taken against the applicant who would be put to severe harassment.
(3.) ON February 24, 1997, the applicant paid the sum of Rs. 50,000 as advance tax but in spite of such deposit, the books of accounts and documents taken away from him on February 21, 1997 were not released. It is the case of the applicant that the officers had no reason to suspect that he had attempted to evade payment of tax and hence the seizure was illegal. Hence, he has approached this Tribunal for redressal.;

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