(1) If upon any information which has come into the knowledge of Commissioner and he has reason to believe that any dealer has evaded payment of tax or is indulging in evasion of tax under this Act or under the Act repealed by this Act, for reasons to be recorded in writing, he may direct any of the officers referred to in clauses (c) to (g) of sub-section (1) of section 3 to proceed to investigate into the tax evasion by such dealer.
(3) 2In pursuance of the provisions of sub-section (1) 2, the commissioner shall, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed:-
(a) require the dealer to produce before him any accounts, registers or documents relevant to his business or to furnish such other information as he may deem fit for scrutiny, or
(b) inspect the place of business of such dealer and for this purpose all accounts, registers and documents relating to the business of such dealer and all the goods kept in such place of business shall be open to inspection by the commissioner.
(4) If on scrutiny of the records produced by the dealer or on inspection of his place of business under sub-section (3), the Commissioner is satisfied that the dealer has evaded payment of tax payable by him for any year, he may for reasons to be recorded in writing, seize such accounts, registers or documents relating to the business of such dealer as he considers necessary, and grant a receipt therefor to the dealer and shall detain them only for so long as may be necessary, for examination thereof or for assessment of tax or for prosecution.
Provided that if the Commissioner can not examine the documents relating to the business of such dealer on the spot, he may ,for reasons to be recorded in writing, seal such documents in a box or bag or container or packet and seize the box or bag or container or packet and after the seizure, the Commissioner shall serve upon the dealer, a notice in the prescribed form ,and on the date fixed, he shall open the seal of the seized box or bag or container or packet in the presence of the dealer or an agent of the dealer entitled to appear in accordance with the provisions of section 23 and in the presence of at least two other persons examine the documents kept in the box or bag or container or packet and after 59 examination of the documents, the Commissioner may seize such documents as he considers necessary and grant a receipt thereof to the dealer.
(5) For the purpose of clause (b) of sub-section (3), the Commissioner may -
(a) enter and search any place of business of such dealer or any other place whether such place be the place of his business or not, where the Commissioner has reason to believe that the dealer keeps or is for the time being keeping any accounts, registers or documents of his business or stock of goods relating to his business and the Commissioner may, for exercising the powers under this clause, seal or break open the lock of any door, box, locker, safe, almirah or any other receptacle in order to continue the inspection subsequently or where the keys thereof are not produced on demand or are not available;
(b) also search any person who leaves or is about to enter or is already in the place referred to in clause (a), if the Commissioner has reason to suspect that such person has secreted about his person, books of account or other documents relating to the business of such dealer; and
(c) if considered necessary, get the search proceedings video graphed or recorded in suitable electronic medium for use as evidence .
(6) (a) If in the course of scrutiny of accounts, registers or documents produced by the dealer or in the course of inspection of the place of business of such dealer, the Commissioner has reason to believe that the dealer has stored or kept goods liable to tax, without accounting for them in books, registers or accounts maintained by him in the course of his business, with a view to their surreptitious sale in order to evade payment of tax, in any building, place or vehicle under the ownership or control of the dealer in either case whether exclusively or in association with some other person or in any building, place or vehicle in each case belonging to some other person with express or implied permission of such other person, the Commissioner may enter any such building, place or vehicle and inspect and verify if the goods have been accounted for and in the event of his reasonable belief that the dealer has not accounted for such goods with the intention of evading tax, the Commissioner may seize all such goods and take all necessary steps for their removal, proper custody and preservation :
Provided that a list of all goods seized under this clause shall be prepared by the Commissioner in presence of at least two respectable persons and a copy thereof shall, on demand, be furnished to the dealer or, as the case may be, to the person from the whose possession or custody they were seized.
(b) The Commissioner shall as soon as possible, after seizure of the goods under clause (a), serve upon the dealer, a notice in the prescribed form to show cause within a period or thirty days of service of such notice as to why a penalty equal to 23.5 times2 the amount of tax payable and calculable on the price which such goods would have fetched on their assumed sale in Madhya Pradesh, on the date of seizure, be not imposed on him for the dealers default in not making entries in respect of such goods in his books of account or register or other documents, as the case may be, maintained by him in the course of his business.
(c) If the Commissioner, after taking into consideration the explanation of the dealer and after giving him an opportunity of being heard, is satisfied that the entries relating to the said goods were not made in the books of accounts, registers or other documents of the dealer without any proper justification, the Commissioner shall pass an order imposing a penalty not less than three times but not exceeding 23.5 times2 of the amount of tax referred to in clause (b).
(d) The Commissioner may, at any time after the service of the notice under clause (b) and before passing an order imposing penalty under clause (c), release the goods seized if the dealer or the person from whom the goods were seized furnishes security in the form of cash security or bank guarantee to the satisfaction of the Commissioner, in each case for such reasonable amount as the Commissioner may specify by order in writing with due regard to the amount of penalty proposed. On payment by the dealer of the penalty imposed upon him under clause (c), if the security furnished is in the form of bank guarantee, the bank guarantee shall be released and if such security has been furnished in the form of cash security, it shall be adjusted towards the penalty so imposed and the balance, if any, shall be refunded to the dealer.
(e) Where no security is furnished under clause (d), the dealer shall pay the amount of penalty, within thirty days of the service of the order imposing penalty on him and on payment of such amount goods seized shall be released forthwith.
(ea) Subject to such restrictions and conditions and in such manner as may be prescribed, a dealer, on whom a penalty has been imposed under clause (c), may opt to pay in lieu of penalty a lump sum amount, which shall be twice the amount of tax referred to in clause (b) and once the dealer has exercised the option he shall not have any right to challenge the order of penalty in any forum.
(f) If the dealer fails to pay within the period specified in clause (e) the penalty imposed under clause (c), the Commissioner shall, subject to other provisions of this Section, dispose of the goods by way of sale in such manner as may be prescribed and apply the sale proceeds thereof towards the penalty imposed and the expenses incurred on account of and incidental to the custody, protection, preservation and sale of such goods and shall refund the balance, if any, to the dealer or person entitled.
(g) The penalty imposed under clause (c) shall be without prejudice to any other action under any other provision of this Act.
(h) Where any objection is made to the seizure of the goods seized under clause (a) on the ground that such goods do not belong to the dealer or are not otherwise liable to seizure, the Commissioner shall proceed to decide the objection:
Provided that no such objection shall be entertained -
(i) where, before the objection is made, the goods seized had already been sold, or
(ii) where the Commissioner considers that the objection was designedly or unnecessarily made.
(i) All questions including question relating to right, title or interest in the goods seized arising between the parties to such proceeding or their representatives and relevant to the adjudication of the claim or objection, shall be determined by the Commissioner dealing with the claim or objection.
(j) Upon the determination of the question referred to in clause (i), the Commissioner shall, in
accordance with such determination:-
(i) allow the claim or objection and release the seized goods either wholly or to such extent as he thinks fit, or
(ii) disallow the claim or objection, or
(iii) pass such order as, in the circumstances of the case, he deems fit.
(k) where any claim or objection has been adjudicated upon under clause (j) or where the Commissioner refuses to entertain a claim or objection under the proviso to clause (h), any such order made shall be deemed to be an order relating to assessment of tax against a dealer under Section 20 and shall be subject to the same condition as to appeal, revision or any other remedy under this Act.
(7) Where the Commissioner, apprehends any resistance to entry, search or seizure of goods he may for reasons to be recorded in writing requisition the services of any police officer of the State Government, having jurisdiction over the local area in which such entry, search or seizure is to be made, to assist him for all or any of the purposes specified in subsection (3) or clause (a) of sub-section (5) or clause (a) of sub-section (6) and it shall be the duty of such police officer to comply with such requirement.
(8) The Commissioner while making entry, search and seizure under this Section shall, unless otherwise expressly provided by or under this Act exercise the same power and follow the same procedure as are exercised by and are required to be followed by a Police Officer in relation to entry, search and seizure under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (No.2 of 1974)