A PIL petition was filed in Telangana High Court seeking a direction to Union Ministry of Finance to launch an investigation into alleged evasion of Goods and Service Tax (GST) by six cable service operators in Khammam town.
A social worker N. Rama Rao of Wyra in Khammam, who filed the petition, requested the court to direct Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ensure the cable operators pay to the Centre the GST they had collected from the subscribers.
The petitioner charged that the cable operators, who are also known as Multi System Operators (MSOs), are bound to register with the authorities and pay GST under the GST Act.
He stated that the TRAI had replied, to a question under RTI Act, that none of the six MSOs in Khammam district were registered with the Centre. They had not paid any GST so far, the petitioner said quoting TRAI reply.
The GST Assistant Commissioner of Khammam’s reply to a similar question suggested that the MSOs were not paying GST to the government.
According to the petitioner, there are nearly one lakh households in Khammam town. If even 50% of them are availing cable services, there would be 50,000 subscribers.
Siti Cable Network, Siti Digital Network, Hathway, Bright Way Communications, NXT Digital and Act Fibernet were the cable operators in Khammam town, the petitioner stated. In a package of ₹154, each subscriber is charged with ₹24 towards GST.
That translates to ₹12 lakh collection of GST every month by the MSOs from the subscribers.
Since the GST was being collected since 2017, the total sum collected by the cable operators from subscribers would be nearly ₹1.44 crore so far, the petitioner said.
Replies from the TRAI and the GST authorities made it clear that the cable operators were evading payment of tax to the government.
He requested the court to declare the inaction of TRAI and GST authorities against the erring cable operators as illegal and arbitrary.
The plea is likely to be heard by the HC in a day or two.