State GST department unearths fake billing racket linked to metal scrap trade; ₹1,170 crore worth of tax evasion detected

Updated - May 23, 2024 10:45 pm IST

Published - May 23, 2024 10:32 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The State Goods and Services Tax (GST) department has unearthed massive tax evasion in the metal scrap trade sector where fake GST invoices were created to illegally claim input tax credit.

A preliminary assessment pegged the fraudulent transactions at ₹1,170 crore, causing tax loss of ₹209 crore, the State GST Department said on Thursday.

The joint state-wide operation by the State GST Intelligence and Enforcement Divisions, which is still in progress, was christened ‘Operation Palm Tree.’ The department termed it the largest such operation in this sector in Kerala.

Tax evasion worth crores of rupees was detected in the raids, the department said. The tax evasion cartels operate by creating fake GST registrations using identification documents collected from migrant workers on the pretext of providing them jobs. “Based on preliminary information, it was found that GST registration taken in the names of 148 individuals across the State resulted in tax loss of ₹209 crore, through fraudulent transactions of ₹1,170 crore,” the department said.

‘Operation Palm Tree,’ which involves close to 300 officials, was launched on Thursday morning. The raids are still continuing across the residences and business establishments of the tax evaders.

The State GST Commissioner said the investigation and stringent action to check tax evasion cartels will continue in the State.

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