KATHMANDU, Dec 20: In a sweeping action, the Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) on Wednesday raided all 11 offices, including head office, of WorldLink Communication -- a leading internet service provider (ISP) -- and took all its vouchers, registers and data under control on charge of tax evasion and amassing income by illegally distributing bandwidth.
“It has also been found taking its illegal income (made through illicit distribution of bandwidth) out of the country via hundi - an informal channel,” said Janmajaya Regmi, director general of DRI.
DRI had conducted the raid at the WorldLink offices in cities such as Biratnagar, Lahan, Janakpur, Hetauda, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Lalitpur after receiving a formal complaint.
Regmi said its immediate finding has already shown that WorldLink evaded value added tax (VAT), income tax, rural telecom service fee and royalty. “Not just the tax evasion, the company has also been found involved in a wide range of foul play and still severe crime,” he told Republica
Of the major anomalies traced by the DRI officials, WorldLink has been found illegally distributing bandwidth acquired from foreign countries. It was found to have opened sister concerns without due approval and distributing them email, Internet and website domain via those bandwidth.
“The company has also been found to have amassed illegal income and even siphoned off such income out of the country illegally,” DRI said, issuing a statement.
The DRI has assessed that the company had been running its illegal operations also by opening branches without due registration and approval of the tax office and Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA).
Interestingly, NTA officials said they had also received information about possible wrongdoing by the company very recently. “We will also look into its case separately. If found guilty, the company will face actions as per the law,” said Kailash Prasad Neupane, spokesperson for NTA.
However, Bijaya Jalan, one of the promoters of the WorldLink, denied any wrongdoing by the company.
“It was a regular inspection. The DRI officials made simple queries and we have cooperated with them as usual,” said Jalan. “Also I would like to clarify that we have neither evaded taxes nor are involved in any wrongdoing.”