Rs 700-cr GST billing scam unearthed
The investigation wing of the Punjab State GST today arrested five persons for creating and operating a bogus billing network across various states, including Punjab, Delhi and Haryana, and availing and passing on fraudulent input tax credit (ITC) to the tune of Rs 122 crore to various firms without due payment of tax to the government.
The authorisation for the arrest of seven persons was issued by Commissioner State Tax Nilkanth S Avhad, under Section 69 of the GST Act for violation of Section 132 (1)(a),(b) &(c).
Search and seizure operations were conducted at multiple locations, including residences, in Khanna town by teams of the department to gather evidence to establish the modus operandi, which involved creating fake firms, dealing in copper scrap and hosiery items, both inside and outside Punjab and thereafter passing on the ITC to beneficiary firms in the state.
Those arrested have been identified as Vinod Kumar, Maninder Sharma, Sandeep Singh, Amarinder Singh and Sunny Mehta, all residents of Khanna in Ludhiana district.
As per the release, the department were alerted about the network after a vehicle carrying copper scrap was detained by the Mobile Wing, Jalandhar, last year and investigation revealed the goods had been procured locally while as e-way and invoice were generated from an outside firm.
Detailed investigations revealed a network of 44 firms, spread across various states, involved in the creation of bogus ITC for setting off the tax liability arising out of purchases made from local unregistered dealers.
On being confronted with the evidence, the kingpin admitted to running the network with the help of some other accomplices, some of whom have also been arrested. During search, incriminating documents related to various firms and mobile phones used for sharing fake invoices and e-way bills generated were seized.
The total bogus billing by the network is likely to be more than Rs 700 crore, while the ITC created/availed and tax evaded is more than Rs 122 crore. Evidence was also gathered about various beneficiaries of the bogus network and other accomplices involved. The accused were produced before the Duty Magistrate and were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
Source: The Tribune