ISLAMABAD: Following complaints, 80 self-styled touts, who minted money off the public in lieu of helping them, were arrested from outside the Excise and Taxation Office (ETO) on Monday, police said.
When complaints were received about these touts who were active at ETO which is located in H-9, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed the police to take action against them.
A team from capital police and Rangers cordoned off the ETO building and closed the gates to stop the touts from getting away, the police said, adding that every person on the department’s premises was then checked and their presence verified.
Some 124 people were found to be in the building without reason and they were taken to the nearby police station. During preliminary investigations, 44 people gave a valid reason for why they were at the ETO building and they were let go.
Rangers and capital police cordon off building, close gates and arrest those who cannot justify their presence
The remaining 80 people failed to satisfy the police with a valid reason for why they were at ETO and were detained for further legal action.
Cases will be registered against them.
A police officer told Dawn that people were asked for their CNICs as well along with why they were at the building, and those who failed to provide either were picked up.
“Those arrested will be asked to identify their accomplices in ETO, if any,” he said.
He added that these touts would ask those coming to pay their taxes for money if they wanted their work to be done faster, through the ‘back channels’.
The officer said that many cases were registered with the Industrial Area Police Station against self-styled touts who had been arrested and that instead of fearing legal consequences, the touts were still active which, he mused, suggests they were not working alone.
“We are trying to identify reasons behind the increase of such activities here,” he said, adding that the reason was either organised illegal activities or assistance from inside ETO.
An eye-witness to the raid, Sajjad Ahmed, who had come to ETO to register his car, told Dawn he had driven up to see the police bundling people into vans.
He said he was spared because by the time he had got there, the gates to the offices had already been closed.
The Excise and Taxation Office collects prescribed taxes and duties on behalf of the government, including entertainment duty, liquor permits, spirit permits, professional tax, property dealer’s tax, tobacco vend fee and the registration and transfer of vehicles.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2016