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GST racket busted in Haryana – Police recover Rs 112-crore, arrest 89

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Chandigarh, Jan 17, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
In a well coordinated operation against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) scam, Haryana Police has busted 4 major gangs related to issuing/registration of bogus firms involved in GST fake invoice bills scam which defrauded the government exchequer to the tune of over Rs 464.12 crore through fraudulent means across the state. The nexus of these fraudsters was active not only in Haryana but across the country.

The crackdown on GST fake invoice scam has also led to the recovery of over Rs 112 crore and unearthing fake GST Identification Numbers (GSTIN). A total of 72 police cases have been filed so far in which 89 accused have been arrested by Crime Branch. Among the total arrest, 40 cases have been registered majorly on Govind Sharma, Gaurav, Anupam Singla and Rakesh Arora.

Disclosing this here on Sunday, Director General of Police (DGP) Haryana Sh. Manoj Yadava said that these persons issued fraudulent invoices to numerous firms and companies without actual supply of goods through fraudulent E-way bills (GST related challans for transporting consignments) and facilitated fake (Income Tax Credit) ITC entitlement on GST portal through GSTR-3B form.

It has also been revealed that fraudulent ITC worth crores of rupees has been passed by these gangs using fake GST invoices, E-way bills and with the help of forged bank transactions. During the course of investigations, it is also come to light that out of the arrested persons some are related to white-collar economic repeated offenders. Police has also blocked inadmissible ITC worth of Rs 97.22 crore in Excise and Taxation Department.

Sh. Yadava also congratulated DGP Crime Mohd. Akil and his entire team for their performance in busting the racket involved in GST scam. Our State Crime Unit launched an extensive exercise to burst this fraud involving fake invoices to claim ITC.

A total of 21 FIRs against fake firms belonging to Govind gang active in Panipat and adjoining areas were lodged in year 2019 while other three gangs involved in major GST evasion were booked between 2018 and 2019. Police has so far blocked ITC of these gangs to the tune of over Rs 80 crore in Excise and Taxation Department.

The DGP informed that the major goods involved in these GST invoice scams were scrap, iron and steel articles, cotton-yarn, paper etc. The drive against the GST evaders and ITC fraudsters is expected to intensify and more arrest are likely to be done in near future. Investigations to these cases are in progress to identify other beneficiaries to recover the tax liability, he added.

Modus Operandi
Giving details about their Modus Operandi, the DGP informed that maximum fraudsters in these gangs used to first register fake firms on GST portal in the name of gullible people and then generate fake invoices, bills of these firms by using software apps like BusyApp, TallyApp, Shkun Software etc. and then uploading these bills to generate E-way bills on GST portal.

Maximum number of E-way bills which were generated by these fraudsters were found to be fake on verification by Crime branch. These E-way bills mentioned vehicle numbers related to ambulances, government vehicles, motorcycles, private own vehicles which are contrary to be used for commercial purposes.

On further inquiry, the bank account numbers which were shown in GST registration form of bogus firm was also found dubious and the fraudsters used another bank account gateway to deceive authorities.

Probe also reveals that they have established these non-existent firms on forged documents like rent agreements, electricity bill, PAN cards etc. On investigation, it was found that these fake firms had no business premises, no stock register and without purchase register. Further, only a small room with no infrastructure was found in the name of the firm.

Other modus operandi also involves the change of Directors/Proprietors, their addresses, mobile numbers, PAN Cards; email addresses every financial year to deceive authorities concerned.

Major Cases Details
Sharing the details of major cases, Sh. Yadava said that the Crime Branch Madhuban (Karnal unit) had already arrested Govind and his aides in 21 cases in a fake invoice scam worth Rs 44.79 crore. He alongwith his aides was engaged in availing and utilizing ITC based on bogus invoice bills and E-way bills, issued without actual supply or receipt of goods or services related to cotton and other related material.

Crime Branch Karnal unit had recovered Rs 37.55 crores so far. Govind used to work as an Accountant for various firms in filing and uploading their monthly returns, but in 2016 he alongwith his aides learned the procedure of how to generate the E-way bills and started creating fake firms in the name of gullible people by using their ID proofs and documents.

Crime branch Karnal Unit integrated all data available from GST office, bank accounts, mobile numbers, their IP addresses etc. and finally apprehended the most wanted accused Govind in GST cases.

The Hisar Crime unit has arrested Anupam Singla, a resident of Sirsa and presently residing in Delhi, for evading GST amounting to Rs 157.39 crore without actual supply of cotton yarn material.

During investigation, certain facts came into notice that police found blank signed cheque books pertaining to almost 173 different bank accounts, blank bilty books belonging to various transporters, identity proof of different persons, mobile SIM cards and other incriminating documents.

The said mastermind has passed on fraudulent ITC to some of the well established traders and cotton yarn spinners who have availed of the same to discharge their GST liability within ulterior motive to defraud the Haryana Government exchequer.

These fake firms created to act as a link in the chain of many fraud firms and their ultimate aim was to transfer this ITC through a chain of many other bogus firms before being utilized by the original beneficiary so that it would be difficult for the government authorities to verify the genuineness of the bogus transactions which were merely on paper transactions. The arrested mastermind Anupam Singla was the brain behind this GST scam.

His nexus and network was not within the territory of Haryana but also upto the other states including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and National Capital Delhi. Earlier also, he was booked by Director General GST Intelligence, Delhi in GST scam. Besides, he had also been indulged in erstwhile VAT frauds before the entire tax system rolled into GST in the country.

In another major operation again by Madhuban (Karnal Crime Unit), three cases were registered against a Panipat based Gaurav gang, which was involved in issuance of fake GST invoices without any supply of goods and services.

He used to make shell firms which were issuing invoices worth crores of rupees and not paying tax and paying the entire liability through ITC. This gang had caused a GST loss of Rs 3.34 crore to the government exchequer out of which police had already recovered Rs 1.8 crore.

In yet another instance, Rakesh Arora gang of Arjun Nagar Gurugram, caused a loss of more than Rs 100.77 crore by submitting fake bills of sales/purchase of goods. Crackdown on the accused by Crime branch Gurugram unit led to the recovery of Rs 47.6 crore.

He further added that with the data available of these fake GST cases with crime branch Haryana, we will nab the remaining accused responsible for loss to government exchequer very soon.

In one of the cases from Panipat, the proprietor of a fake firm filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court of India with the contention that “the case relates only to GST authorities and police had no legal jurisdiction over the GST fraud cases”.

Relying upon the orders passed by the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing the anticipatory bail application of petitioner, the Apex Court in its judgement dismissed the SLP of the petitioner with the direction to surrender before the concerned trial court in the said FIR.

“We have conducted a statewide drive against GST fake invoice fraud and requested the department concerned seeking all the records. As the beneficiaries (ITC claimants) are from various parts of Haryana and other states too, we are coordinating with our counterparts to track the culprits involved in the fraud”, added Mohd. Akil DGP Crime under whose supervision the entire crackdown is being done.

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