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GST bogus billing scam of Rs.700 Crore busted by Punjab GST, five arrested

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | March 13, 2021 08:17 PM

CHANDIGRH: Officers of the investigation wing of Punjab State GST today arrested 5 persons for creating and operating a bogus billing network across various states including Punjab, Delhi and Haryana and availing & passing on fraudulent ITC to the tune of more than Rs. 122 Crore to various firms without due payment of tax to the Government.

An authorization for arrest of 7 persons was issued by Commissioner State Tax Sh. Nilkanth S. Avhad, IAS, 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 in Khanna town by the teams of the department including residence of the accused in order to gather evidence for establishing the modus operandi that involved creating firms in states outside and within Punjab dealing in copper scrap and hosiery items and thereafter passing the same to various beneficiary firms in the state of Punjab. The ITC created through bogus firms was used to support the local movement of goods of various traders.

Department had got alerted about the network after a vehicle carrying copper scrap was detained by Mobile Wing Jalandhar last year and investigation had revealed that the goods had been procured locally while as e-way and invoice were generated from some other firm. Detailed investigation revealed a network of 44 firms spread across states that was being used to create the bogus ITC for setting off the tax liability arising out of purchases made from local unregistered dealers. On being confronted with the evidence, the main kingpin accepted that he was operating the network with the help of some other accomplices some of whom have also been arrested. During search operations 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 700 Crore while ITC created/availed and tax evaded is more than 122 Crore. Evidence was also gathered about various beneficiaries of the bogus network and other accomplices involved.

Five of the seven accused were arrested today for violation of Section 132 of the GST act by a team led by Asst. Commissioner, Mobile Wing Patiala under supervision of Joint Director (Investigation), Patiala. The operation was coordinated by Sh. Showkat Ahmad Parray, IAS, Addl. Commissioner (Enforcement) Punjab State.

Efforts are on to nab the other accused. The accused were produced before the duty magistrate and were remanded to judicial custody for 14 days. The persons arrested are Vinod kumar, Maninder Sharma, Sandeep Singh, Amarinder Singh and Sunny Mehta.

All the accused-arrested persons belong to Khanna town of Ludhiana District. Action against various beneficiaries and other accomplices is also being initiated. Details of the firms registered in the names of the accused and other persons outside Punjab is being compiled and will be shared with other states for necessary action. Further investigation is going on.

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