Nagpur News: More skeletons tumble out of the ill-functioning property tax department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation leading to massive tax evasion causing big time revenue loss to the local body. As if the Radisson Blu goof up, in which the 5 star commercial property was cannily shown as residential unit and the non-assessment of eateries and food joints at Futala Lake was not enough, the tainted officials abused their power further to induce more hurt to the cash starved NMC.
In the latest slip-up, the private institutes being ran at the house of Ramtek MP Mukul Wasnik’s father and former MP Balkrishna Wasnik, at Gandhi Nagar in Nagpur are evading property tax to the tune of over Rs 17 lakh for over five years. And they do it rather simply – the two institutes shoo way the recovery officials approaching their door steps, thanks to the ‘political umbrella’ under which they thrive. Owners of both the institutes often defend themselves under the name of the landlord Balkrishna Wasnik and his MP son.
The institutes have been dodging the property tax department for over couple of years. The evasion holds much water in view of the fact that octroi has been replaced by Local Body Tax (LBT) in the city, and NMC is mainly dependent on property tax for major share of its revenue. The property in question is located at 365, Gandhi Nagar.
Rs 17 lakhs unpaid
Besides the residence of Mukul Wasnik’s father, the property accommodates Wasnik’s PR office, office of Sumantai Wasnik Institute of Nursing, Mahesh Tutorials – a bank coaching institute and Flywheel Aviation Academy. Of these entities, Mahesh Tutorials and Flywheel Aviation have been registered at property tax department of NMC. Rests of the offices have been kept away from tax net of NMC. The outstanding tax on Mahesh Tutorials and Flywheel is still unpaid. On former the due is over Rs 5 lakh while the latter have total outstanding of more than Rs 12 lakhs upon it.
According to property tax officials, Balkrishna Wasnik had paid the property tax of his house after a long period of two years but did not pay any heed to get the commercial rent outs to pay up. Is the powerful man saving them from the tax brunt? Is it just a “show” for the record sake of paying Property Tax of two years?
Going by the latest rent agreement of both the institutes, property tax estimates projected the hike of Rs 2-3 lakh in the liabilities of both the entities.
Commercial activity illegal
A neigbour who wish not to be named revealed that both the tenants are operating under the clout of Mukul Wasnik. Sources also said that since the area falls under residential vicinity, any commercial activity there is illegal. The alert citizens have demanded that NMC Commissioner should initiate action against the MP sheltering the defaulting tenants. It is also warned that if NMC fails to act in time, a delegation would file public interest litigation against NMC administration, landlord and the tenants.
No one to comment
For over last 5 days, Nagpur Today has been trying to reach Mukul Wasnik at his number 09811658584, his PA Satya Prakash at 09818268383 and his close aide Deepak Katole at 9822464944, but none of them responded despite repeated calls and SMSes. This correspondent called up Katole around 50 times during these days but he did not pick up any call nor did he respond to text messages.
Nagpur Today Views
The property tax department pats its own back whenever they net small fish and go on publicity spree just to show they are alert and active. However, even a lay man can understand diversionary tactics for sparing and blessing the big fishes. The fishy business has been going on for years together since the department babus clearly know that the key chairs like Mayors, NMC Commissioners and Standing Committee Chairman may not be here to stay but they would remain stagnant. It’s high time the officials should check the malpractice before the last penny in NMC’s exchequer is squeezed out. By doing so, the officials should also clear the air they are not involved in the tainted game.