We are serious about seigniorage evasion: HC

The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday directed Telangana government officials to place before it all details relating to charges of evasion of seigniorage by some granite-supplying agencies based in Karimnagar.

The direction was given by a division bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by Gajjala Kantham from Karimnagar. The petitioner charged that eight granite suppliers had transported granite blocks from Karimnagar by understating measurements from 2006 to 2011.

Owing to understated measurements, the volume of the granite blocks transported too became less. This resulted in levying less seigniorage on granite suppliers. This caused a loss of Rs. 124.94 core to the Exchequer, counsel for the petitioner Nazir Ahmed Khan submitted.

As per rules, the Department of Mines and Geology should impose a penalty five times the evaded seigniorage. Thus, the officials should have imposed and collected a total of Rs. 749.66 crore from the eight granite-supplying agencies, Mr. Khan said. The lawyer presented to the bench that the petitioner secured details of the evaded seigniorage by filing queries through the Right to Information Act. According to the petitioner, the granite suppliers had failed to pay the seigniorage and the fine amount.

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