Controversy continues to broil at Vadodara-based Manpasand Beverages Limited (MBL) which has now seen an arrest of its managing director Abhishek Singh, along with other two top officials in a Rs 40 crore Goods and Services Tax (GST) fraud case. After a thorough investigation and multi-locational searches, Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Commissionerate Vadodara -II on Friday arrested Singh and his brother Harshvardhan Singh, along with MBL’s chief financial officer Paresh Thakkar for evading GST worth Rs 40 crore. As per a CGST Commissionerate statement, the listed beverages company had been running fake units for availing input tax credit (ITC) fraudulently, committing a tax evasion of Rs 40 crore, involving a turnover of Rs 300 crore. The racket was busted through searches by the commissionerate at multiple locations, following which the trio were arrested. After being produced before a court on Friday, the trio have been sent to judicial custody.
The investigation revealed a network of over 30 fake or bogus units located in various parts of the country, which were used for committing fraud by availing illegal credit. The investigation regarding ultimate beneficiary of the fraud and web of shell companies is under progress, the commissionerate stated. Last year, the company had courted controversy after the sudden exit of its auditors Deloitte Haskins & Sells India. Known for its beverage brands like Fruits Up and Mango Sip, among others, Manpasand Beverages Ltd. has a market capitalization of Rs 1200 crore, with total standalone income of Rs 985 crore in fiscal 2017-18 and a reported bottomline of Rs 100 crore. Meanwhile, a meeting of its Board of Directors is scheduled on May 28, for considering and approving audited financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended March 31, 2019.