Man running shell firms made ₹70 cr via forged GST bills, held
A team of the state goods and service tax (GST) department on Friday arrested a 52-year-old man along with his two accomplices in the industrial town of Mandi Gobindgarh for running a web of shell companies and making ₹70 crore by producing forged GST bills.
The accused have been identified as kingpin Ganga Ram, a resident of the town, and Amit Kumar and Vishesh Kumar, both migrants.
Officials claimed that Ganga Ram was operating almost three dozen shell companies to produce GST billings and took cut from input tax credit availed by other businessmen on basis of forged bills.
“So far, we have detected fake billing of ₹350 crore which caused a loss of ₹45 crore in tax revenue to the state exchequer. In the last one year, Ganga Ram, who has been operating firms and bank accounts registered on the name of his relatives and some migrants, withdrew ₹70 crore from banks through bogus billing,” said additional excise and taxation commissioner Showkat Ahmad Parray, who is heading the special data cell to crack such cases.
Ram was also paying some amount to those on whose name he had registered the firms and would get their signatures on cheque books to withdraw money.
Several cheque books have also been recovered from him, officials said.
“Amit and Vishesh, who had come to the town in search of labour work, joined Ram as he would use their documents to open shell companies. Also, he was planning to open a factory in Himachal Pradesh with the money earned from bogus billing. Besides, he built a house and purchased some property. Most of his cash withdrawal from banks are below ₹1 crore to avoid TDS (tax deducted on source) on withdrawal,” Parray said.
On specific inputs, a team of officials from Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Fatehgarh Sahib launched a joint operation and raided the so-called factories and offices of firms involved in bogus billing, he added.
“Several firms are engaged in issuing fake invoices and passing bogus input tax credit to others in Punjab without any supply of goods. We found that 10 firms issued fake invoices worth ₹350 crores involving tax of ₹45 crore,” said Parray.
Ram got registered firms namely GK Enterprises, Deepika Steel Industries in his name; King Sales Corporation and Ishika Traders in the name of Amit Kumar; and Vishu Enterprises in the name of Vishesh Kumar among others, it has been found.
Also, documents were seized from the residence of the accused.
The other beneficiaries of the fake billing will be identified, Parray added.