The Uttarakhand state commercial tax department has unearthed what it suspects to be a financial fraud to the tune of Rs 8,500 crore under Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Uttarakhand and six other states, commercial tax department officials said on Monday. Sowjanya (who goes by her first name), commissioner of the commercial tax department, Uttarakhand, said apart from Uttarakhand, the fraud involves six other states/Union Territories Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Delhi.
Sowjanya said the alleged fraud was committed by persons who allegedly raised the value of goods worth R1,200 crores to R8,500 crores through value addition in e-way bills. The accused, whose identities are yet to be ascertained, are suspected to be part of an inter-state gang involved in this fraud, she said. E-way bill, or electronic way bill, is generated by GST-registered persons for transport of goods exceeding R50,000 in a vehicle. It is generated through an e-way bill portal.
Sowjanya said the fraud was found during the raids conducted by department officials in at least 70 firms, which were fraudulently registered in the state. “From past few months, the department had been receiving inputs that some of the traders were getting themselves registered in-state through fraudulent ways and doing business worth crores of rupees through e-way bills,” she said. Sowjanya said acting on the tip-off, raids were conducted in the state and 70 firms were found to have generated outward and inward e-way bills worth R8,500 crores.“Digging more, 34 of the 70 firms were found to have generated e-bills citing purchase of machinery from Delhi worth Rs 1,200 crores,” she said.
Out of the 70 firms, 68 showed their registration address in US Nagar district while two in Dehradun districts. After generating e-way bills of purchase worth Rs 1,200 crores, the firms showed transactions among themselves and to traders outside the state, she said. “They had already applied a claim of GST refund of R6.67 crore. However they couldn’t get the money as our department came to know about the fraud and didn’t entertain the application,” said Sowjanya.
Giving more details about the firms involved in the fraud, Sowjanya said a total of 80 persons used 21 mobile phones, and e-mail ids to get 70 firms registered in Uttarakhand. “During the initial probe before the raids, the locations of all the 21 mobile phones were found in Delhi or Haryana. To get the firms registered here, they showed address of establishment based in Uttarakhand along with its rent agreement and electricity bills. However during probe the owner of the establishments denied any such rent agreement which further proved that it was a big fraud going on,” she said.
“During investigating the details of the persons mentioned in the registration of the firms, it was found that name of same person was mentioned in registration of more than one firms but with different addresses. “Once the investigation is completed, we would send the report to other states concerned where the fraud is suspected to have extended,” she said.