The Gujarat state Goods and Services Tax (SGST) department made a major breakthrough with the arrest of the mastermind in the Rs 900 crore bogus billing scam. Mohammad Abbas Rafiqali Meghani alias MM was arrested from a hideout in Bhavnagar. Meghani was the ninth person arrested in the fake bills scam case.
The police received a tip-off about Meghani’s whereabouts following which they laid a siege to arrest him. Meghani tried to escape from the backdoor but the police officials managed to nab and arrest him.
The state police had so far raided at least 71 locations spanning across the state and uncovered total bogus billing or fake transactions worth Rs 1,741 crores. An illegal Input Tax Credit worth Rs 319 crore has been claimed thus far. Afzal Sajwani and Meenaben Rathod were among those arrested during the raids.
Meghani’s involvement in the case came to the fore during search operations conducted at Sajwani’s residence.
“We have in our possession evidence that establishes Meghani’s involvement in the case. He was operating 25 firms and had availed illegal ITC to the tune of Rs 135 crore using bogus bills worth Rs 739 crore. We have arrested him,” the state GST department said.
The police also identified the role of Shabana Kalliwala, the owner of Bhavnagar-based HK Metals, in connection with the fake bill scam. The police found HK Metals claimed ITC to the tunes of Rs 16 crore based on fake bills worth Rs 87 crores. Shabana was arrested for her involvement in the fake billing scam.
As the investigation into the bogus bills scam has progressed, the size of the fraud committed has only swelled since it was first unearthed on July 7. The scam came to light after police found Madhav Copper Limited involved in a fake billing scam. The organisation had reportedly used fake bills worth Rs 425 crores to claim an input tax credit of Rs 75 crores. The company has so far evaded taxes worth Rs 137 crores and its chairman, Nilesh Patel continues to remain on the lam, even after being summoned by the SGST department.