GST invoice fraud worth Rs 641 cr unearthed in Odisha; 2 arrested

Bhubaneswar: The GST enforcement wing of Odisha has unearthed a racket that issued fake invoices to the tune of Rs 641 crore and arrested two persons for their involvement in availing and passing of bogus input tax credit (ITC) of Rs 115.10 crore, said an official here on Friday.

The two arrested masterminds of have been identified as Gurdit Dang, managing partner of Tirupati Traders and authorised representative of Satguru Metals and Power Pvt Ltd, Rourkela, and Sujay Maitra, director of Smartageis Trade Venture Pvt Ltd, Rourkela, said S.K. Lohani, state GST Commissioner.

While Dang was arrested from Rourkela, Maitra was captured from Bhubaneswar on Friday morning, he said.

The two masterminds, in collusion with others, availed bogus ITC raising fake purchase invoices in the name of 16 fictitious/non-existent business entities located in Angul, Rourkela, Banai, Ersama, Tirtol, Riamal and Sundargarh, Lohani said.

During investigation, the GST enforcement wing found that the duo had obtained identity documents like PAN, Aadhaar, bank passbooks etc. of innocent people such as plumbers, drivers, electrical mechanics, gas distributing boys, unemployed youth and people below poverty line from areas like Panikoili, Baripada, Rasgovindpur, Bargarh, Puri, Balasore and also Jharkhand.

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They had availed the documents in the pretext of engaging them in different companies and in some cases to provide regular monthly income of Rs 5,000, and then misused the documents for the purpose of obtaining GST registration, sources said.

The investigating sleuths also found that goods weighing in tonnes were shown to have been transported through two-wheelers, cars, three-wheelers and scooters on many occasions.

The state GST enforcement wing has so far arrested 20 fraudsters for their involvement in the issuance of fake invoices.

Registrations of 25,400 dealers have been cancelled so far by the state GST officers on the ground of their non-existence after field enquiry or due to non-filing of returns.

A two-month long special drive was also launched Friday to weed out all the non-existing registrants.

The Commissioner appealed to the general public that they should not share their identity documents, personal details, bank details etc. with any unauthorised person.

Also, they should not permit any unauthorised person to operate a business or bank account on their behalf or in their name.

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