Odisha GST officials nab ‘masterminds’ behind bogus tax credits worth Rs 115 crore
Bhubaneswar: The Enforcement Wing of Odisha’s GST Directorate on Friday nabbed two businessmen for their alleged involvement in availing and passing of bogus tax credit worth Rs 115.10 crore on the strength of fake invoices to the tune of Rs 641 crore, official sources said. The accused have been identified as Gurdit Dang, Managing Partner of Tirupati Traders and authorised representative of Satguru Metals & Power Pvt Ltd, Rourkela, and Sujay Maitra, Director of Smartageis Trade Venture Private Limited of Rourkela, said State GST Commissioner Sushil Kumar Lohani.
While Dang has been arrested in Rourkela, Maitra has been arrested in Bhubaneswar, he said.
Lohani said the “masterminds,” in collusion with others, have availed bogus input tax credit (ITC) raising fake purchase invoices in the name of 16 fictitious or non-existent business entities located at Angul, Rourkela, Bonai, Ersama, Tirtol, Riamal and Sundargarh.
The current investigation originated from a complaint filed by a dealer of Jogeswarpur, Balasore, on supply of goods by the accused on the strength of fake invoices. The probe led to interrogation of five existing dealers of Panikoili, Baripada, Rasgovindpur, Bargarh, Puri and Balasore, who admitted to wrongdoing.
To set up and operate the fake firms, the masterminds obtained identity documents like PAN, Aadhaar, Bank Passbooks of innocent people like plumbers, drivers, electrical mechanic, gas distributing boys, unemployed youth and people below poverty line living in Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) houses and availing PDS facility of different areas like Panikoili, Baripada, Rasgovindpur, Bargarh, Puri and Balasore and Jharkhand on the pretext of hiring them in different companies. They misused the documents obtained to get GST registrations.
The State GST Enforcement Wing has so far arrested 20 fraudsters for their involvement in issuing fake invoices. Registrations of 25,400 dealers have been cancelled so far by the State GST officers on the ground of their non-existence after field inquiry or due to non-filing of returns.
To eliminate bogus registration, the registration process has been streamlined. Moreover, a two-month long special drive, starting from July 16, 2021 to September 15, 2021 has been launched to weed out all non-existing registrants. The Commissioner of State GST appealed to the public that they should not share their identity documents, personal and bank details and other documents with any unauthorised persons.
Also, they should not permit any unauthorised person to operate a business or bank account on their behalf or in their name. In case it comes to their notice that their credentials and other personal documents are being misutilised by someone for running a business, the same should immediately be intimated to the nearest GST office, Lohani said.