An investigation conducted by the Directorate General of GST Intelligence’s (DGGSTI) Nagpur zonal unit has uncovered rampant practice of availing fraudulent input tax credit (ITC), by issuing fake e-way bills. This is in line with similar cases found in other states too. A search conducted into the accounts of 58 business firms showed that fake purchases worth Rs 825 crore were recorded to claim ITC to the tune of Rs148 crore. It was found that 10,000 fake invoices were issued to avail the ITC. The tax sleuths have arrested four persons in the case. Some of the accused are absconding, said a press release issued by the DGGSTI.
The sleuths conducted searches at 75 places in this case. ITC is a crucial component in an indirect tax system like GST. This is a proportionate reduction available in the tax liability for the levy that has been paid at the time of purchase of inputs. For example, the tax paid at the time of buying raw material is deducted while calculating GST on the final product. This is done to prevent cascading effect of tax. The tax sleuths scrutinized each of the e-way bills to detect the fraud. It was found that the vehicle numbers mentioned in the e-way bills were merely two or three-wheelers in many of the cases.
An e-way bill is proof of transport of goods from the seller to buyer’s end. The transaction cannot be validated without an e-way bill. In order to record fake purchases in the returns and claim ITC, fake e-way bills were issued. There was no transit of goods but to validate the claim fake invoices had to be generated, said the source. The vehicle numbers were of automobiles that were not meant for commercial transport. The registration numbers of random vehicles were quoted in the e-way bills, said a source. In a large number of cases the vehicles did not even exist, the source said. This is part of a quarterly investigation carried out by the DGGSTI. The figures are expected to further increase as the probe proceeds further.