Decided on November 12,2018

State Of Assam Represented By Principal Secretary To Government Of Assam Appellant
Pranjal Borah Respondents


A. K. Goswami, J. - (1.) Heard Mr. P. N. Goswami, learned Standing counsel, Excise Department, appearing for the appellant/respondent. Also heard Mr. K. N. Choudhury, learned Senior counsel, assisted by Mr. J. Patowary, learned counsel, appearing for the respondent/writ petitioner.
(2.) This writ appeal is directed against the order dated 27.07.2017, passed by the learned Single Judge, in WP(C) 3676/2018, allowing the writ petition and setting aside the order dated 07.07.2017, passed by the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Assam, Excise Department, whereby the writ petitioner was placed under suspension.
(3.) At the relevant point of time, when the writ petitioner was placed under suspension, he was serving as i/c, Joint Commissioner of Excise, Assam. The Commissioner of Excise, Assam, by a letter dated 13.05.2015, had directed the Superintendent of Excise, Kamrup (Metro), to cause an enquiry into alleged irregularities regarding non-payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) and excise duty by BG Bonded Warehouse (for short, "Bonded Warehouse"), Guwahati. Later on, the writ petitioner was requested to take over documents relating to excise duty of the said Bonded Warehouse and to take physical stock of goods stored therein. Subsequent thereto, the Inspector of Excise, Excise Intelligence Bureau (EIB), seized the documents of the Bonded Warehouse on 14.05.2015 and 15.05.2015. Thereafter, the Commissioner of Excise, by his order dated 17.07.2015, constituted a Special Investigating Team (SIT) with four officers, including the writ petitioner, to look into the allegations regarding evasion of excise duty by Bonded Warehouse and to submit a report. The SIT submitted a report dated 19.09.2015 wherein it was recorded that the total amount of excise duty evasion is Rs. 19,85,77,221.60. In its report dated 19.09.2015, the SIT made the following recommendations: "Recommendation: 1. The licensee was criminally culpable as she forged the signature and seal of the Excise officials of Kokrajhar, Treasury Officer, Kokrajhar and the SBI, Kokrajhar and thereby defalcated huge sum of Government revenue. Therefore the case may be immediately handed over to the CID or Assam Police for necessary action against her under the law. This is also required since she was not co-operating with the investigation and therefore her custodial interrogation is required to find out the involvement of any other person. 2. The Bonded warehouse and wholesale licence owned by her may be immediately cancelled after following due procedure under the law. 3. Superintendent of Excise, Kamrup, may be requested to initiate recovery proceeding under Sec. 35 of the Assam Excuse Act, 1910 to recover the defalcated Excise revenue. 4. The bond and security executed by the licensee at the time of obtaining licence may be invoked and all her property as per executed bond may be attached. 5. Although the connivance of the consecutive Officer-in-charges could not be established due to lack of evidence, their negligence and dereliction of duty is prima facie responsible for such a huge revenue defalcation. Considering the seniority and experience they were of, they should have anticipated the scam since most of the retailers against whom issues were made were "ON" licensees and huge quantities were shown to be issued against them which was unlikely by any standard of retail permits in the entire State.";

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