42 bogus firms, Rs 30-cr tax refund scam in Panipat

Sushil Manav

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13

Days after a bogus tax refund scam of Rs 100 crore came to light in Gurugram, 42 bogus firms in Panipat, all registered in the name of an untraceable person, are alleged to have siphoned off at least Rs 30.6 crore.

Looking into the inter-state and inter-district ramifications of the scam, the Haryana Government has ordered a probe by the Vigilance Bureau.

The scam, pertaining to bogus VAT refund claims during 2016-17 and 2017-18, came to light during the scrutiny of Gurugram-based firm Vipin Enterprises’ transactions. The authorities found that Panipat-based Paras Enterprises also played a fraud with the government through bogus business with Vipin Enterprises.

Paras Enterprises proprietor Tarun Kumar cannot be traced so far. In fact, no such firm exists at the registered address of 7-Ward Chungi, Sanoli Road, Panipat.

The mobile phone number provided at the time of registration as that of the proprietor also belongs to someone else. Investigations revealed that 41 more firms had given the same number as the contact of their proprietors.

Paras Enterprises and other such firms claimed input tax credits (ITC), commonly called tax refunds, worth Rs 17.33 crore showing transactions at a number of stages with bogus dealers. The dealer’s returns reflected inter-state purchases worth Rs 52.08 crore, but the Form C amounting to Rs 155.2 crore were issued to the firm pointing to a minimum revenue loss of Rs 30.6 crore to the government as no tax was paid by the dealer for the corresponding sales.

Since Paras Enterprises has turned out to be a non-existent firm, the authorities believe the inter-state purchases declared by the firm are also dubious and dealers in other states may also have derived undue benefits against fictitious sales of the Panipat-based firm.

The authorities have provided names eight firms (one from Jaipur, one from Mumbai and six from Delhi) to the bureau for further probe.

The role of some department officials, who facilitated the registration of bogus firms and issued Form C to them, has also come to light and the government is contemplating departmental action against them.

On August 31, The Tribune had published a report “Rs 100-cr scam stings Haryana”, which described how seven ETOs posted in Gurugram helped nine firms, including Vipin Enterprises, to siphon Rs 100 crore from the exchequer. The government had suspended the ETOs and ordered a probe by the State Vigilance Bureau.

Shady deals

  • 42 non-existent firms based in Panipat firms, all headed by an untraceable individual, siphoned at least Rd 30.6 crore
  • The figure may touch Rs 50 crore by the time the probe is completed
  • All these firms had given the same mobile phone number as contact of their proprietors, but the number seems non-functional