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Unique case to save tax on beverages creates history
 
 
Usman Manzoor
Friday, August 02, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented case of impersonation, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and a leading industrialist of the country have been caught red handed making fool of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in a high profile tax case.

 

One of employees of the industrialist was presented before the court as Chief Excise of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to distract the court from handing down a judgment against the imposition of capacity tax on the beverage industry, LHC documents available with The News reveal.

 

None other than the LHC itself caught Punjab Beverages (Pvt) Company Limited of making mockery of the judiciary as its director Finance appeared before the LHC as Chief Excise FBR on 19-07-2013 and told the court that he was Chief FBR and he would not initiate any recovery against the beverage companies under Federal Excise and Sales Tax on production capacity (Aerated waters) Rules, 2013 as he is bound by law to collect the capacity tax only.

 

It is being described as a major case which can send a PML-N leader behind the bars. Some analysts describe this case as an example of the difference between corruption of other political parties and corruption of industrialists.

 

In this case, first an SRO was issued in favour of powerful beverage industrialists and when there was chance that LHC would strike it down, the industrialists didn’t bother to respect the court and law and cheated the honourable LHC to save their billions which would be minted in the garb of capacity tax.

 

It was revealed before the court that Chief FBR, Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Tunio, never appeared before the LHC in Capacity tax cases on beverage industry and the person who impersonated as Chief FBR was Fayyaz Hussain, Director Finance Punjab Beverage (Pvt) Company Limited.

 

Court documents say that Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Tunio, Chief FBR himself told the LHC that he was in Islamabad on 19-07-2013. Outraged over the revelation, the LHC has summoned the CEO Punjab Beverages, Fayyaz Hussain who impersonated as Chief FBR before the court, and a court clerk (Munshi) who was found chatting with Fayyaz on the last date of hearing when Fayyaz made mockery of the court.

 

Well-placed sources told The News that owner of Punjab Beverages Co. (Pvt) Ltd along with three other bottling plants of a known multinational brand in Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan and Islamabad, having close acquaintance with the PML-N were in the forefront and lobbied for imposition of capacity tax on the beverage industry instead of tax on the actual production.

 

It has been learnt that a few powerful gurus of beverage industry had held several meetings with FBR officials before getting issued an SRO of their choice despite strong opposition from the small bottlers.

 

The SRO was challenged in the LHC by one M/S Pakistan Fruit Juice Co. (Pvt) Ltd and Amrat Beverages Ltd. On 19 July 2013 Muhammad Ilyas Ahmed Khan, Advocate along with Fayyaz Hussain of Punjab beverages impersonating as Ashfaq Ahmed Tunio, Chief Excise appeared in the court and submitted that the FBR would not initiate any recovery against the petitioner.

 

LHC later shockingly discovered that the person who appeared in the court as Ashfaq Ahmed Tunio, Chief Excise FBR was Mr Fayyaz Hussain who happens to be an employee of Punjab Beverage Co. (Pvt) Ltd owned by an ex PML-N Senator from Faisalabad.

 

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah has ordered the Regional Police Officer Faisalabad to ensure the presence of Fayyaz Hussain and the CEO of Punjab Beverage Co. in the court on the next date of hearing, who portrayed as the Chief of Excise in front of the court and tried to cheat the judge and made mockery of the judiciary.

 

A court clerk (Munshi) namely Habib of a leading law firm of Lahore has also been summoned because he was seen chatting with the accused Fayyaz Hussain on July 19. The judge has also called IIlyas Ahmed Khan, Advocate and has summoned the Chairman FBR along with Ahfaq Ahmed Tunio on the next date of hearing. Such an incident is unprecedented in the history of Lahore High Court.