RTI reveals stamp duty evasion worth crores in AP
The reply to an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has brought to light that an evasion of stamp duty worth over Rs. 35 crore by the Vijayawada Toll Way Pvt. Ltd.
The evasion, detected by the Commissioner and Inspector General of Registration and Stamps, took place while entering into an agreement with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Vijayawada. Vijayawada Tollway Pvt. Limited had entered into Concession Agreement with the NHAI for developing the Vijayawada-Chilakaluripet six-lane road and setting up a toll plaza with an approximate project value of Rs. 709 crores. The stamp duty was to be charged at five per cent on the project cost or estimated toll collection by the lessee, whichever would be the higher.
Initially the information regarding the project was not provided under the RTI Act by the then District Registrar of Stamps citing that they did not have the authority to verify the contracts in third party premises. But persistence on the matter led to dissemination of the said information.
It has been claimed by the RTI activist K Surya that similar agreements have been entered into all over Andhra Pradesh in several places which need to be reviewed by the IG of Registration and Stamps to get the amount of stamp duty deposited along with the interest.