City based RTI activist Anarjit Chauhan has questioned the method in which NMMC collects water tax, property tax and other taxes without the mandatory usage of Re 1 Indian revenue stamp for payments of Rs 5,000 and above. In the course, what has come to light is how a private bank has been allowed to operate from NMMC properties across nodes in Navi Mumbai. Without the General Body approval or making a strong agreement between NMMC and Axis Bank that collects hundreds of Crores of public taxes through ward offices, the NMMC has allowed a dubious arrangement with a private bank instead of perhaps going into partnership with a nationalized bank.
HUNDREDS OF CRORES COLLECTED WITHOUT USING REVENUE STAMP
Apparently, Axis bank assigned to collect property taxes for NMMC in various wards, do not insist on the use of Re 1 revenue stamp for collecting amounts worth over Rs 5,000, thereby leading to a loss for the government. As per the Indian Stamps Act, 1899, one is required to pay by way of revenue stamp for payments of service charges, such as property taxes, of value of Rs 5000 and above. Since this is not happening within NMMC’s jurisdiction, it is an irregularity and therefore a loss of revenue for the government.
IS NMMC ROBBING STATE GOVERNMENT OF ITS REVENUE?
Anarjit Chauhan explains that with a budget of Rs. 2400 Crores approx., the NMMC’s system has been made such that the state government is losing Crores of revenue. He says NMMC is violating the process of registration under the stamp act.
NMMC ESTATE DEPARTMENT HAS NOT AGREEMENT WITH AXIS BANK
Anarjit Chauhan added that while Axis bank employees are made to avail space in ward offices across Navi Mumbai, there is no formal agreement between the bank and NMMC Estate Dept. He says NMMC Commissioner Dr Ramaswamy N should recover the losses that are caused in absence of a real estate agreement with Axis Bank.
“WILL RECTIFY IF ANY VIOLATIONS OR ERRORS IN UNDERSTANDING WITH AXIS BANK” : NMMC COMMISSIONER
NMMC Commissioner Dr Ramaswami N said that if there are any violations or errors in the agreement between Axis Bank and NMMC, it will be rectified as per the Indian Stamps Act, 1899.
He emphasized that since payments of NMMC can be done online, citizens can do it through any bank.
AXIS BANK’S TAINTED 2018
Axis Bank came under severe allegations of irregularities in the last two years.
• There were instances of security breaches in some of its branches while handling cash transactions in December 2016. More than 19 employees were suspended for flouting norms.
• This was also the time when rumours flew thick and fast that the financial organisation was on the verge of losing its banking licence in the wake of alleged irregularities.
• For Axis Bank’s managing director Shikha Sharma, matters came to a head when the banking regulator, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), asked the lender’s board to re-consider the decision to give Shikha Sharma a fourth term, citing concerns over rising NPAs under her watch.
• Axis Bank also came under increasing scrutiny during the heady and frightful days of demonetisation, in November and December 2016. 19 of its employees were suspected of playing ball with crooks in laundering their ill-gotten demonetised currency notes resulting in numerous raids on its branches.
• There have been hushed allegations that politicians and corporators in Navi Mumbai too availed Axis Bank’s services for laundering black money in Navi Mumbai.
WHY IS NMMC COMMISSIONER AND CORPORATORS NOT SCRAPPING AGREEMENT WITH AXIS BANK?
Citizens of Navi Mumbai are now questioning
• Why does NMMC continue to remain in agreement with Axis Bank and giving Crores of tax payers’ money into the allegedly tainted hands of Axis Bank?
• Why has NMMC not appointed a nationalized bank for the services?
• Why has NMMC not entered into strong public agreements with Axis Bank and brought the same on public record by bringing it for discussion in NMMC General Body?
• Why does NMMC allow Crores of taxes to stay with Axis Bank every month, thereby giving it money that it can roll further into its private commercial services for instance loans?
• Why are corporators of NMMC sitting as mute spectators?
Unless the NMMC administration and corporators come clean on the issue, Crores of public taxes stands at risk even as the state government continues to lose Crores of Rupees revenue loss. Zeba Warsia – NMTV News.