GST Invoice Fraud: 104 Held In 3 Weeks, No Bail For Kingpin

The Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) and the CGST Commissionerates within three weeks of the nationwide concerted drive against GST fake invoice frauds have arrested so far 104 unscrupulous persons for illegally availing or passing on input tax credit (ITC) fraudulently through fake entities and fly-by-night firms and circular trading.

On Friday the authorities arrested eight fraudsters, booked 65 cases and unearthed 114 fake GSTIN entities. Thereby, in this drive, they have so far booked 1161 cases against 3479 fake GSTIN entities.

DGGI sources said that during the drive, searches and surveys were conducted in more than 38 cities/metros by now, namely, in Meerut, Bhopal, Jaipur, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Siliguri, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Kolkata, Kanpur, Nagpur, Chennai, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Coimbatore, Surat, Vadodara, Una, Rajkot, Kochi, Gurugram, Pune, Ludhiana, Ranchi, Belagavi, Patna, Guwahati, Raipur, Jammu, Durgapur, Hosur, Bhilai, Jodhpur, Unnao, Indore, and Thane.

Further investigations in these cases are in progress to unravel the network and multiple chains of fake invoices’ benefactors and, also, to ascertain the exact amount of tax evasion and usurpation by these fake entities and fraudsters.

Meanwhile, a source in the know of the matter said that some frantic attempts made by a few big masterminds of fake invoice scam to obtain bails at different courts have not succeeded so far despite their hiring of legal bigwigs.

In Mumbai, the Session Court rejected the bail application of Sunil Ratnakar Gutte, son of a sitting MLA and Managing Director of Sunil Hi-tech, – a kingpin who was arrested on the basis of multiple documentary evidence along with his business associate Vijendra Ranka, in a fake invoice scam worth of Rs 520 crore of ITC. The ACMM Court at Esplanade, Mumbai has extended his remand up to the 8th of this month.

In a dramatic scenario, Sunil Gutte first filed a bail application at ACCM Court and later withdrew it without pleading despite the filing of reply by the DGGI, Mumbai Zone and later went to the Sessions Court to seek bail. Gutte’s counsels kept demanding early bail in the Sessions Court and even had a hearing and argument on Sunday (22.11.20) with high pitched drama.

However, the Court wanted to hear both sides properly due to the gravity of the matter. During six-seven days of hearing on the bail application, the DGGI was led by Dhiraj Mirajkar, Lead Counsel and R. K. Pathak, Government Standing Counsel. On 03.12.20, in the Sessions Court, when Gutte’s legal representatives again created high drama, they were reprimanded by the Court to maintain decorum and not to shout at the departmental counsels. Later, the Sessions Court rejected the bail application of Sunil Gutte, said Sources.

It may be recalled that M/s Sunil Hi-tech Engineers Ltd has been engaged in availing and utilizing ITC based on bogus invoices, issued without any supply/receipt of goods/services.

It was revealed that M/s Sunil Hi-tech Engineers Ltd. has availed fraudulent ITC to the tune of Rs. 304 crore from multiple entities and has passed on fraudulent ITC to the tune of Rs. 216 crore to multiple entities, based on bogus invoices issued, without any receipt/supply of goods/ services. M/s Sunil Hi-tech is registered PAN India and is under investigation in other Zonal units of DGGI also for availing and passing on ITC fraudulently. The main objective appears to be to artificially inflate the turnover and obtain an enhanced credit limit from the bank and/or loans. (ANI)

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