Meerut: A seemingly innocuous text message on the cell phone of Pramod Kumar, the owner of a sports goods firm in the city, let loose a chain of events and apparently exposed the chinks in the GST armoury. On Thursday morning, Kumar was startled to find an acknowledgement message on his cell phone by a transporter company for “booking a consignment”. Kumar had not booked any consignment recently.
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To unearth the matter, Kumar– with the help of office bearers of sports goods federation– reached the local office of the company (Jaipur Golden) and was shocked to find fake bill book of his firm — Balaji sports. The fake bills of Kumar’s firm were allegedly being used by the local staff of Jaipur Golden to help unregistered firms save GST.
The Centre has given some relaxation in GST till December 31, after which records of all the firms will be matched meticulously. Taking advantage of the relaxation, several firms are dodging GST by adopting various means, according to sources.
Arun Kumar Bansal, vice president of Meerut Sports Goods Trading Federation, said: “The draconian regime of GST has a provision that if any discrepancy is found in the sale of a product, 140 per cent of the selling price is slapped as a penalty. And, this penalty has to be deposited before one takes any legal course.”
Senior officials of Central and state GST office reached the venue by Thursday evening to check all the fake bill books.
VK Gupta, deputy commissioner at local GST office, told TOI, “This could be the tip of an iceberg. But nothing could be said until we check all the documents. I have personally spoken to senior staff of the transport company. It could be the handiwork of the local staff. Besides, traders of unregistered firm could also be involved in the whole fraud. We will begin our investigation once we have representation from all stakeholders. On Friday, we will seize all documents after listening to all the sides.”
General secretary of the federation, Ravindra Singh, said, “Jaipur Golden follows a good practice and sends out messages to the trader after his order is booked. But there are many others who do not send such messages.
“Besides, it is mandatory for the transport firms to deposit a copy of invoice at GST office also. So, if the racket is large, several invoices must have already landed at GST office.
“From January 1, 2018, GST department will begin checking these invoices submitted at their offices by the transport firms.”
He also said, “GST is smothering our businesses, now fraud will destroy us completely.”