GST fraud gives sleepless nights to roadside vendors

Parveen Arora

Tribune News Service

Karnal, January 11

Subhash Sethi (50), a vegetable vendor, and his son-in-law Balwinder Manchanda (30), a ‘pakora’ seller, have been spending sleepless nights for the past three weeks after having learnt that some persons have duped the government of crores using their names.

The Excise and Taxation Department in Panipat issued them show-cause notice on December 19 last year, asking them to submit their point of view, following the unearthing of a GST scam worth crores in Panipat. They have been informed that the documents they deposited while opening two firms were false and fabricated.

The family members received the biggest shock of their lives on December 21 last year when they reached the Panipat office and found that their PAN and Aadhaar numbers had been used to run two companies.

Shri Sai Overseas, with a turnover of Rs 23.45 crore, was being run on the name of Subhash, earning between Rs 300 and Rs 400 daily. Shri Bala Ji Enterprises, with a turnover of Rs 21.82 crore, was being run on the name of Balwinder, earning between Rs 300 and Rs 400 a day.

They had submitted affidavits to the department, but could not sleep properly for the last three weeks. They had been running from pillar to post to get back their documents.

Subhash of Arjun Gate said they had never opened any firm and had given their documents to their neighbour Mahinder on July 2017. Subhash said Mahinder had promised to facilitate loans of Rs 50,000 each to him and Balwinder.

Subhash alleged that Balwinder had made them sign papers in various banks in Panipat. “Mahinder took us to Panipat on July 12, 2017, where he and his four or five accomplices took our documents and made us sign papers in various banks,” he stated.

“We never thought in our dreams that our documents could be misused for fraud. Instead of loans, we received this notice, which increased tension and I fell ill,” he added. “I and my wife Rani met the Karnal SP to get back my documents,” he asserted.

Balwinder said, “I earn a living by selling ‘pakoras’ in Newal, my village. My life has turned into hell and I have to run from one department to another to clarify my stand.”

RR Nain, DETC, Panipat, confirmed the issuance of notices. He said Subhash and Balwinder had given to the police the names of those who had duped them. “If anyone has a doubt that someone has opened a firm on his or her name, the person can check it on the GST portal by filling in the PAN,” he said.