Mastermind of Rs 400 crore GST evasion scam in MP absconding

Indore, June 15 (IANS) The alleged mastermind of the Rs 400 crore GST evasion scam, Kishore Wadhwani, is still absconding as on Monday evening.After a multi-phased operation that has continued through a fortnight, the Directorate General of GST intelligence (DGGI) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have arrested three persons and exposed GST evasion of Rs 400 crore till Sunday.During the operation, the team seized 15 machines and seven trucks. Meanwhile, the search operations in the city are still on.Under ‘Operation Karka’ — named so because of oral cancer being caused by tobacco and Gutka consumption — three independent groups found to be involved in large scale clandestine manufacture, undeclared supply and illicit sale of pan masala/ tobacco without payment of GST have been uncovered by the enforcement agencies.Phase I of the ‘Operation Kark’ was launched on May 30 under which an accused, Sanjay Mata, was arrested on June 3. The second phase of the operation, under which searches were made at over 16 locations in the city, was conducted between June 9 and June 12. At the end of the second phase, tax evasion to the tune of Rs 225 crore was detected by the Central GST intelligence officers after they busted illegal pan masala manufacturing units in the city.The searches revealed undeclared warehouses and residential locations in the city and Ujjain between Tuesday and Friday.According to an official statement issued on Saturday, “Based on preliminary investigations by DGGI, it has been estimated that the accused persons and their associates have evaded GST of around Rs 25 crore on the goods sold illicitly during the period July, 2019 till March, 2020.” The total duty implication in this fraud is estimated to be around Rs 400 crore.”During the months (April and May, 2020) of pandemic lockdown, these persons are believed to have resorted to large scale illicit sale and supply of pan masala/ tobacco,” it said, adding that further investigation in the matter is continuing.The DGGI investigations indicate that the masterminds of this fraud had set-up eight companies in the real estate, hospitality and media sectors to launder illicit wealth generated from these businesses.–IANSnaidu/arm

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