Crime branch to probe Rs 174 crore GST fraud

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The Haryana government has asked its home department to let the state’s crime bureau investigate into a GST fraud in which bogus firms spread out across 10 districts availed input-tax concessions of Rs 174 crore. The move comes even as the taxation department has decided to examine the role of officials in the fraud who were supposed to physically verify firms after their registration under the Goods and ServiceTax Act. Investigations, so far, have revealed that 44 fake companies in 10 districts of Haryana availed tax benefits of up to Rs 174 crore by showing bogus transactions of Rs 1,472 crore.

The taxation department’s officers and employees will assist investigating officers of the police, said Haryana additional chief secretary (ACS) Sanjeev Kaushal. The department has already started seizing the accounts of bogus firms identified so far, he added. Kaushal said the transfer of cases to the crime branch would speed up investigations. Under GST, a firm is automatically registered through the online process. All this takes three days. Though tax officers are supposed to verify the firm’s office physically, this did not happen in case of the fake companies. “We will check if this process was verified in the case of fake firms which availed the benefits. “Exemplary action will follow in case any employee or official is found to be involved in the case or is indicted,” Kaushal said. Kaushal told TOI that the investigation was still on, and the department was likely to wind up the probe by the month end.

The scam was revealed during the physical audit of two companies. Later, Haryana Police registered cases on complaints by the excise and taxation officer of the district concerned. Maximum number of cases were registered in Panipat, and these were followed by Hisar, Fathehabd, Rohtak, Kurukshtra and Bhiwani. Besides registration of the cases against the companies as well as the their registered owners, the Department has decided to lodge the separate FIRs against the masterminds of this racket identified by the department so far. Sources informed that in Yamuanangar, an ex officials of Central Exisise Commissionerate was the mastermind. Similarly, in Hisar and Rohtak, the old traders who had associate with financial consultant had masterminded the racket.

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