FAISALABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regional tax office has detected more than 200,000 industrial and commercial electricity connections installed by the Faisalabad Electric and Supply Company (Fesco) against the rules and regulations since July 2014 to June 2019.

The FBR has issued notices to the beneficiaries of such connections, asking them to get registered with it or face action.

Sources told Dawn that following a campaign to broaden the tax net, the FBR had asked the Fesco officials to provide it with the numbers of commercial and industrial connections installed from time to time.

They said Fesco had provided the data which mentioned that the company had issued 268,693 commercial connections and 35,237 of industrial (total 303,930) from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019.

Issues notices to the beneficiaries of such connections

The FBR officials had scrutinised the data through different teams, which had detected that Fesco had issued about 300,000 connections, including 250,000 commercial and more than 41,000 industrial.

During scrutiny, it was detected that Fesco had issued 130,000 commercial and about 26,000 industrial connections without obtaining the computerised national identity cards (CNICs).

Similarly, more than 48,000 connections–about 46,000 of them commercial and 1,800 for industrial – are such where multiple connections have been issued on the single CNIC, many dozens on one CNIC in some instances, or those not holding an NTN. On Aug 20, they said the Fesco officials had been approached.

An FBR official told Dawn that issuing such power connections was clearly a violation of the government law and the responsible officials must be held accountable with the first information reports (FIRs) registered against them.

He said such officials had helped the industrialists and businessmen evade taxes but availing the electricity facility through unidentified persons or without any legal document.

A Fesco official told Dawn the issue was under investigation in the department and a joint move would be made with the help of the Federal Board of Revenue to detect the culprits and the tax evaders.

The officials said an inquiry might be launched to know how such a large number of connections had been installed in violation of the law.

Sources said Fesco and Federal Board of Revenue officials held a meeting at the FBR office on Thursday in which the Fesco officials had been asked to take this matter seriously and expedite the effort of detecting the culprits.

They said it had been decided that an FBR team would meet the Fesco chief to find a way forward.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2019