In a first of its kind inter-state investigation, the Maharashtra Goods & Service Tax Department has arrested a Gujarat-based couple for evading GST of a whopping Rs 450-crore in this state through a fake ITC scam, an official said here on Friday.
The accused - Prima Mhatre of Dolphin Overseas and Sanjeev Singh of Prime Overseas - were caught in Surat with help of the Gujarat Police and brought here by a Mumbai Police team.
The duo was produced before the court this morning which sent them to 14 days judicial custody, said a GST official.
The official said the couple had been evading GST in Maharashtra since August 2021 and despite repeated summons, they failed to appear before the concerned authorities.
At one point at the start of the investigations, Mhatre and Singh even fled from the GST sleuths on medical grounds and remained untraceable since then.
Based on comprehensive analytics, the GST Department continued its probe and finally in a meticulously-planned operation over the past two days, caught them from their luxurious flat in the diamond hub of Surat on Thursday.
During the probe, the sleuths detected a collective GST evasion of around Rs 111 crore by the duo and understood their modus operandi, said the official.
They floated many bogus firms in the names of unknown persons, accepted fake invoices of around Rs 482 crore and fraudulently availed input tax credits of Rs 111 crore by this method.
Since both Mhatre-Singh continued to abscond and dodge the GST notices, the GST Department took the help of Mumbai Police and started a joint probe against them.
After collecting all the evidence, a team of Mumbai Police and GST left for Surat late on Wednesday, took help of the Gujarat Police and effected a dramatic arrest of the couple yesterday afternoon.
The entire successful operation was overseen by GST Joint Commissioner Sampada Mehta, Deputy Commissioner Vinod Desai, Assistant Commissioner Rishikesh Wagh, Tax Officer Swati Shinde and their teams.
A state Finance Department officer termed it the development as a "historic moment" for the GST Department as this is for the first time they have arrested tax-evaders from another state who were perpetrating GST frauds in Maharashtra and depriving the state exchequer of its rightful dues.
"This will definitely serve as a strong warning to all scamsters that the Maharashtra GST Department will not spare anybody evading taxes and they would face action from us wherever they may be," said the officer.
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