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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Shocked by GST's 'Draconian Arrest Clause'

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed shock over a "draconian arrest clause" in the GST rules, which can lead to harassment of business, particularly the small and medium-scale, with some non-bailable sections, too.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:June 30, 2017, 6:36 PM IST
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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Shocked by GST's 'Draconian Arrest Clause'
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (Photo: Getty Images)
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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed shock over a "draconian arrest clause" in the GST rules, which can lead to harassment of business, particularly the small and medium-scale, with some non-bailable sections, too.

In a Facebook post, she said, “I would like to point out that under the current VAT regime, the field officials of the State do not have the power to arrest. If they feel that there is a serious tax offence, then they will have to file an FIR and pursue the due process of law. But in the case of GST, the Inspectors will have the power to arrest on 4 different types of offences which can result in jail from 1 year upto 5 years.”

“West Bengal opposed this arrest clause in the GST Council but the Government of India did not pay any heed. In fact, in the name of GST, they have deviated in many areas from the original intent,” Mamata said.

“Given the atmosphere in the country of vindictively targeting anyone who dares to disagree with the Central Government, I am deeply concerned that the arrest clause in GST may well be used to target business leaders who raise their voice of dissent on any policy matter or any practices. I am afraid, from the midnight of today, will darkness loom large in the lives of entrepreneurs and common people? she said.

While claiming that the mockery of Inspector Raj is back, the chief minister said, “At the stroke of midnight on 14th August, 1947, India won her freedom. Now, at the midnight of 30th June, 2017, freedom and democracy stand to face grave danger.”

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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