In a scam that is waiting to be unearthed, officials from Gujarat Income Tax Department have stumbled upon racketeers who trap illiterate and needy on false assurances of government aid. Once forms are filled and details obtained, the Aadhar card number is used to procure GST registrations for fake companies through which bogus billing and illicit tax input credit is passed on to co-conspirators.
As part of the mission to control bogus billing, inspection was carried out in Surat, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Anand and Rajkot in conjunction with the local police on February 7.
After spot verification of 112 premises, the SGST sleuths found 75 suspect firms in Surat. Of these, 61 companies filed bogus bills worth Rs 2,768.31 crore claiming false input tax credit (ITC) worth Rs 83.73 crore.
Based on the PAN cards of these firms, some mobile numbers and email IDs were recovered from Know Your Customer (KYC) details. These details were found to be common among 136 firms of which 104 were registered in Gujarat. Investigation into the bogus firms is underway.
During the spot verification in Surat, the mobile phone number of a person involved in the making of duplicate documents like Aadhaar and PAN using an Android application was found. He was caught creating a fake ID named Shiv Loan Services on Facebook Marketplace to obtain people’s data on pretext of loans.
In some firms in Surat, addresses as per Aadhaar were shown to be in Bhavnagar, Palitana, Amreli, Ahmedabad and Anand. Upon inquiry, officials found that people in Palitana were completely unaware of the GST registration and PAN cards on their names. In many cases, phone numbers were modified in Aadhaar cards. Many people said that their thumb impressions were taken at Aadhaar centres by people promising to get them government assistance.
Verification of 470 GST registrations from modified phone numbers led officials to find 2,700 GST numbers across India. Many are likely to be bogus.
An FIR was filed in Bhavnagar in this regard.
In the verification of 24 firms in Ahmedabad, 13 were involved in bogus billing. SGST department found Rs 1,350 crore worth of bogus billing leading to Rs 53 crore of ITC falsely passed to others.
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