Links to Bhavnagar have been surfacing time and again in the GST fake billing scams reported from other parts of Gujarat.
The most recent case is the arrest of Aadil Hassan Bajuber from Mumbai airport last week by Surat police as he tried to flee to Dubai.
Aadil, also a resident of Bhavnagar, is believed to be the mastermind behind the fake billing scam that involved some 13 fake companies being floated in Surat and fake billing transactions upwards of Rs 50 crore, sources confirmed. He has been apprehended by the Economic Offences Cell.
Adil was involved in forging signatures on 21 rental agreements registered in the name of a Surat-based builder. These fake companies were in turn used to illegally obtain input tax credit.
“During the investigation, he confessed to creating a fake Aadhaar card using an app in the name of the concerned builder to be able to float bogus companies in his name,” a source confirmed.
In connection with another fake billing scam, the Vadodara police had arrested Bhavnagar residents, Yasin alias Uncle Ismail Magarbi and Akram Abdullah Atyan, for registering bogus firms in Vadodara and tax evasion of Rs 8 crore.
Another multi-crore fake billing scam involving fudging Aadhar-GST data also surfaced in Bhavnagar.
“Using documents obtained from residents of Palitana town and Bhavnagar, bogus GST registrations were made across the country and fake billing transactions running into crores were detected. The recent remand of undertrial prisoner Mohammad Tata in connection with two fake billing scams in Bhavnagar also indicates that the place is emerging as a hotspot for bogus billing scams,” said a source close to the investigation.
In a bid to curb the menace of bogus billing, the state goods and services tax department has identified some 2,500 suspicious GST registrations; a statewide spot verification drive is underway.
While the department officials have appealed to the taxpayers to cooperate, many have alleged harassment by tax department officials during the ongoing drive.