Statements of 18 bookmakers recorded in GST evasion

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Officials from the Central Goods and Services Tax (GST) have recently taken cognisance of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse cheating and gambling case registered last year at Tardeo police station. A senior official from GST told mid-day that the statements of all 18 bookmakers, mostly high-profile residents of south Mumbai and Pune, are being recorded in ‘their suspected connection of estimated evasion of duty of around Rs. 500 crore’ under the banner of Royal Western India Turf Club Ltd (RWITCL).

“We have been calling all the 18 bookmakers, who were arrested by the Tardeo police and later released on bail, to record their statements. We were told by the cops that these bookmakers were hiding the actual bets collected at their stalls just to evade GST,” said the GST official. Earlier, the bookmakers had to pay ‘entertainment tax’ to collector until June 30, 2017. After the enactment of GST, the bookmakers had to take their GST registration number to pay tax at the rate of 28 per cent.

“Prima facie indications are that the bookmakers intentionally made wrong entries of accepted bets on races to evade GST at 28 per cent,” a GST official said. In the latest development of the police probe in the case, Tardeo police found hat Mahalaxmi Racecourse, too, flouted rules while giving licences to bookmakers for the stalls. “Mahalaxmi Racecourse had secured the licence from Maharashtra Home department but they had not taken permission from the Home department before giving licences to bookmakers as per rules,” Abhinash Kumar, zonal deputy commissioner of police, told mid-day.

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