The Rs 100-crore fake GST bill scam in Punjab is not just restricted to small retailers or the state alone.
Investigators have found that steel manufacturers of Mandi Gobindgarh and yarn traders of Ludhiana are also allegedly involved in this racket of buying low-value GST bills and using these for high-value goods.
Investigation by the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department, which began last month, has also revealed how iron and steel billets (raw material for steel industry) were being brought to Punjab on fake GST bills from firms in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
The bills recovered by the investigation wing headed by Kumar Saurabh Raj, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, had fake addresses of both despatching and recipient firms here.
This means that hundreds of tonnes of raw material have landed here from other states, billed to a fake address. But the traders operating this racket have supplied it to the manufacturers without any GST being paid on it.
The bills did not even have the GST registration number of the despatcher or recipient. During the past week, the investigators have recovered several such bills, which shows large quantities of billets have been supplied to steel manufacturers here by completely evading the GST.
Kumar Saurab Raj, who is heading the investigation, told The Tribune that they had received intelligence inputs about this, following which they recovered the bills from Mandi Gobindgarh. “Since the addresses are fake, we will go for data mining by using the bank account numbers mentioned on some bills,” he added.
The Tribune had reported earlier that 12 Ludhiana-based companies are under investigation for allegedly buying GST (Goods and Services Tax) bills from retailers of paints, cement, hardware, hand tools and iron and steel at just 4 to 6 per cent of the GST charged on the items (on these items, GST charged is between 18-28 per cent).
These bills are then sold to exporters and large producers, who in turn are reportedly taking input tax credit by submitting these bills, when actually no sale of goods is taking place.
Sources in the Excise and Taxation Department say their investigations have also revealed that certain yarn traders of Ludhiana are also selling low value bills to unscrupulous companies. Raids were conducted on these companies during last week.