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State GST nabs Lalit Sharma, accused in Rs285 cr billing scam

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Officials of the State GST team on Thursday nabbed Lalit Sharma, an accused in the Rs285cr billing scam, from Surat. Lalit Sharma created four fake companies in the name of his relatives and billed the invoices to them.

Sharma in all cheated the government of Rs19 crore in tax. Lalit Sharma’s name came up in connection with an investigation in the bogus refund case in which Yogesh Chalthanwala and Manish Shah of Surat were accused.

 

As per the details, Lalit Sharma set up four bogus companies – Laxmi Silk Palace, Suman Textiles, Bhavesh Enterprise and Ace Tax.

Sharma used these four companies to issue bills for six companies set up by Yogesh Chalthanwala and several other firms that have been on the radar for bogus refunds.

The probe revealed that Sharma’s companies would transfer money to various other lending companies and then would collect the transferred money from them in cash.

Laxmi Silks owe Rs6.71 crore in tax, Suman Textiles Rs5.94 crore, Bhavesh Enterprise Rs 4.95 crore and Ace Tax Rs1.48 crore in tax. In all the, four companies owe Rs19.08 crore by way of tax to the state.

Surat traders under the scanner

In the year 2019, more than 1,000 traders in Surat were under the scanner for fake bills to avoid paying GST or claim fake refunds. The SGST suspected that over Rs100 crore of tax was evaded by the traders through fake bills. 

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Earlier the SGST had begun investigations against 282 firms for fake bill worth over Rs6,000 crore, the biggest ever to be reported in the state since the GST came into force. In that particular instance, the SGST believe traders avoided over Rs900 crore of tax.

How the fake bills scam works

Many people obtain GST in the name of others who are neither into trade nor business. The scammers then offer this GST numbered firms to organised players who show the movement of goods to these companies. 

They thus generate fake bills for goods that were never traded in the first place. The people who offer the GST registration of firms that do not exist get a commission in return.

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