Patiala The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started a parallel probe into the multi-crore GST evasion racket, taking note of the inter-state links. The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has already arrested around 12 tax officials and the role of as many is under scanner for their collusion in letting transporters evade taxes in lieu of bribes.
The ED is already probing the illegal liquor scam. Now, the ED has written to Punjab Vigilance Bureau and GST department, seeking information on the companies and officials involved in the scam, it is learnt.
“GST is a major source of government revenue for Centre as well for states, and it’s being siphoned through a nexus between officials and traders. Vigilance bureau probe has found fake bills generated by Ranchi-based firms and GST input tax credit taken in Punjab and Haryana. Some Delhi-based people are also involved. While Haryana GST collection has increased, Punjab has not seen any substantial hike, which hints at evasions. The ED has decided to launch a probe to look deeper into the racket,” said an ED official of Delhi, requesting anonymity. He said ED’s Jalandhar office has been given a go ahead to start the probe.
Assistant director, ED, Ritesh Srivastava, confirmed that he has sought details, but refused to share information.
As per sources, Jalandhar ED office on September 8, through Srivastava, sought details from the vigilance bureau about the FIRs, modus-operandi and the disproportionate assets amassed by the GST officials. Later assistant director Deepak Rajpoot sent another reminder to the vigilance bureau.
The VB officials confirmed ED communications. “We will keep probing our angle, as state government has given clear instruction that tax evaders will have to face the music,” said an official.
Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana high court has rejected anticipatory bail application of two GST officials who are on the run after being named by the VB in the FIR.