The state government’s sales tax department on Monday conducted raids on 37 firms carrying out hawala operations, amounting to nearly Rs 6,000 crore in the city and seized important documents.
A team of sales tax officials conducted raids at 12 places across the city early on Monday morning. The premises of firms, which were raided included Siddhivinayak Traders, Samiksha Metal India, Vighnaharta traders, Krishna trading Company at Opera house, Grant Road and Virar. The department has now referred the entire matter to the income-tax (I-T) department, as the sales tax evasion in this case amounts to only Rs10 to Rs15 crore.
The department will also lodge a first information report (FIR), in this matter against one person, who has been identified as the kingpin of the racket. The officials, however, refused to divulge details about his identity.
“We had got some vital information pertaining to this matter. For the last one-week, we had been closely following this case. We have so far identified one person, who is behind all these operations. We found bill transactions running into crores during the raids on the office premises of 37 firms,’’ said sales tax commissioner Sanjay Bhatia.
In this case, Hawala firms were issuing fake bills to help companies evade tax in lieu of commission.
In the case of sales tax evasion, it is largely firms dealing in goods such as iron, steel, non-ferrous metals, automobile parts that make use of this dubious method to evade tax.
Bhatia added that all these firms were discreetly running their operation. The sales tax evasion due to these hawala operations is to the tune of Rs10-15 crore.
The I-T department and the police will examine the implication of these dubious transactions, sources said on condition of anonymity.