(1) Where the CGST/SGST officer, not below the rank of Joint Commissioner, has reasons to believe that -
(a) a taxable person has suppressed any transaction relating to supply of goods and/or services or the stock of goods in hand, or has claimed input tax credit in excess of his entitlement under the Act or has indulged in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder to evade tax under this Act; or
(b) any person engaged in the business of transporting goods or an owner or operator of a warehouse or a godown or any other place is keeping goods which have escaped payment of tax or has kept his accounts or goods in such a manner as is likely to cause evasion of tax payable under this Act,
he may authorize in writing any other officer of CGST/SGST to inspect any places of business of the taxable person or the persons engaged in the business of transporting goods or the owner or the operator of warehouse or godown or any other place.
(2) Where the CGST/SGST officer, not below the rank of Joint Commissioner, either pursuant to an inspection carried out under sub-section (1) or otherwise, has reasons to believe that any goods liable to confiscation or any documents or books or things, which in his opinion shall be useful for or relevant to any proceedings under this Act, are secreted in any place, he may authorize in writing any other CGST/SGST officer to search and seize or may himself search and seize such goods, documents or books or things:
Provided that the goods, documents or books or things so seized shall be retained by such officer only for so long as may be necessary for their examination and for any inquiry or proceeding under this Act.
(3) The officer authorised under sub-section (2) shall have the power to seal or break open the door of any premises or to break open any almirah, box, receptacle in which any goods, accounts, registers or documents of the person are suspected to be concealed, where access to such premises, almirah, box or receptacle is denied.
(4) The person from whose custody any documents are seized under sub-section (2) shall be entitled to make copies thereof or take extracts therefrom in the presence of an officer of CGST/SGST.
(5) Where any goods are seized under sub-section (2) and no notice in respect thereof is given within sixty days of the seizure of the goods, the goods shall be returned to the person from whose possession they were seized: Provided that the aforesaid period of sixty days may, on sufficient cause being shown, be extended by the [competent authority] for a further period not exceeding sixty days at a time subject to a maximum of six months.
(6) The Central or a State Government may, having regard to the perishable or hazardous nature of any goods, depreciation in the value of the goods with the passage of time, constraints of storage space for the goods or any other relevant considerations, by notification, specify the goods or class of goods which shall, as soon as may be after its seizure under sub-section (2), be disposed of by the proper officer in such manner as the Central or a State Government may prescribe.
(7) Where any goods, being goods specified under sub-section (6), have been seized by a proper officer under sub-section (2), he shall prepare an inventory of such goods in the manner as may be prescribed in this behalf.
(8) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), relating to search and seizure, shall, so far as may be, apply to search and seizure under this section subject to the modification that sub-section (5) of section 165 of the said Code shall have effect as if for the word “Magistrate”, wherever it occurs, the words [Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of CGST/Commissioner of SGST] were substituted.