By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 18 Nov: The CGST Uttarakhand Commissionerate has reportedly detected a major scam involving evasion of more than Rs 3 Crores of GST by a prominent entity, M/s Ujjwal Shram Sanvida Sahkari Samiti Limited, which is managed by Shailesh Verma, a resident of Kishan Nagar in Dehradun. According to sources, Verma is politically a well connected person who had some years ago also held a Lal Batti post equivalent to rank of a minister in Uttarakhand.
As per official sources, the company had collected sums in excess of Rs 20 Crores from various Government undertakings but had failed to deposit GST to the tune of more than Rs 3 crores to the exchequer. This is a case of major evasion of GST.
According to Commissioner, CGST, Uttarakhand, Deepankar Aron, the department has been developing intelligence about GST evasion from different sources. Apart from informers, the department also relies on data analysis and risk management strategies to identify the tax evaders and plug the leakages. He added that it was in this context that a drive had been undertaken by the CGST office in Dehradun with regard to those entities that had been collecting GST dues from different sources but not depositing the tax in the Government Account.
After detection of tax evasion by Ujjwal Shram Sanvida Sahkari Samiti Ltd, investigation was initiated against the firm based in Dehradun. The Chairman of the firm is Shailesh Verma. Preliminary investigation indicated that Ujjwal Shram Sanvida Sahkari Samiti Limited, Dehradun, collected Rs 20.24 crores from various Government undertakings such as FRI, Forest Division (Dehradun), Director, Rajaji National Park, Tarai East Forest Division (Haldwani), Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Soil Conservation, etc., but did not deposit the GST payable on this amount with the Government.
Based on this intelligence, action was initiated by the CGST, Uttarakhand Commissionerate, by way of searches under Section 67 of CGST Act, 2017. Searches were conducted at the residential address of the Chairman, Shailesh Verma, located at 50/100 Kishan Nagar, Dehradun, and at the registered office address at 1/1A, Shakti Vihar, Majra, Dehradun. Various records were studied and evidence gathered. Verma was present at his residence during the search operation.
Shailesh Verma was served summons under Section 70 of CGST Act, 2017. During interrogation, the officers came to know that Shailesh Verma had been arrested in 2014 and was sent to judicial custody and a case was booked against him at Rajpur Police Station, Dehradun under Sections 323, 406, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC.
Accordingly, the statement of Verma was recorded under Section 70 of CGST Act, 2017 in which he admitted that he had collected GST from his clients but failed to deposit it in the Government account. He further admitted his tax liability of more than Rs 3 crore during the interrogation.
It may be recalled that evasion of this much amount of GST dues is punishable with imprisonment of upto 3 years. The tax evader is also required to pay in addition to the tax amount the interest and a penalty which is equal to the tax amount evaded.
Thereafter, Shailesh Verma has been summoned on multiple occasions, but he is not cooperating with the investigation and has been disregarding the due process of law. This is despite the fact that his petition filed in the CJM court seeking anticipatory bail was rejected.
As a result, a criminal complaint has been filed under Section 174, 175 of Indian Penal Code in the CJM Court, Dehradun.
Aron revealed that, in the current financial year 2022-23, the CGST Uttarakhand Commissionerate had detected evasion worth Rs 75.59 Crores in 55 cases, out of which, an amount of Rs 68.59 Crores had been recovered. In the last financial year, 2021-22, CGST the Uttarakhand Commissionerate had detected GST evasion of Rs 131.18 Crores in 22 cases and had recovered GST of Rs 97.20 Crores as a result of various enforcement operations conducted throughout the year involving multiple state jurisdictions.