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Revenue Investigation Department identifies new group involved in producing and selling fake VAT bills

  • Investigations show fake VAT bills worth over Rs8 billion sold, over 600 firms purchased them
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Jul 13, 2019-

After filing separate cases against two groups involved in producing and selling fake Value Added Tax bills, the Department of  Revenue Investigation says it has identified another group involved in a similar offence.

On June 21, the department filed a case against 15 individuals at the Kathmandu District Court on the charge of evading Rs 2.98 billion in taxes by producing and selling fake VAT bills in one of the largest cases related to revenue fraud.

On March 3, the department had filed a similar case against 24 individuals for evading Rs1.75 billion in taxes through fake VAT bills.

“While exploring the links with the two cases, we identified a third group involved in producing and selling fake VAT bills,” Dirgha Raj Mainali, director general of the department, said.

According to him, the modus operandi of the new group is the same as the previous two groups: registering the firms in the names of ignorant and illiterate people from rural areas, and producing and selling under the guise of such firms.

Department officials said they are yet to reach conclusions on how many people are involved in the third group and the amounts involved in the bills that they had sold. 

“The amount is in billions of rupees. But we are yet to ascertain the total amount,” said Dhruba Ghimire, deputy director general of the department. 

Unlike in the previous case, department officials said they have not arrested anybody associated with the case.  

They declined to name the individuals and firms that are under investigation stating that they could not share the details due to the ongoing investigation.

When the department filed the first case in March, it had arrested two racket members, Parameshwor Sah  and Jaya Kishor Sah with the later being the mastermind, according to the department.

When the second case was filed, the department had arrested Gopal Prasad Bhattarai, who in partnership with Rimbar Dhwoj Karki, had registered various firms under the names of several villagers to run a fake VAT bill racket.

According to Ghimire, the third group is found to have carried out transactions of both fake bills and original bills as well. The department is investigating around 100 firms for producing and selling fake VAT bills. They have sold such bills worth around Rs8 billion, according to Mainali.

Meanwhile, the department is also conducting a separate investigation into the firms that have been evading taxes using fake VAT bills purchased from racketeers. “We believe this means that several other groups are independently involved in such acts, which has resulted in huge revenue losses for the government,” said Mainali.

According to Mainali, over 600 firms have been found to have purchased fake bills from the racketeers as per the revised figure. This fake VAT bill scandal has already become larger than the one that was seen in the fiscal year 2010-11. In 2010-11, the tax authorities had decided to collect Rs6.69 billion from 518 firms. The incident made national headlines due to the involvement of noted industrialists and businessmen.

The department officials said that the size of revenue evasion this time will be much higher once investigation into those who purchased the fake bills is concluded and revenue evaded by them determined. 

The department officials said they were still in the early stages of investigation to know if noted businesspersons and firms are involved this time.

Published: 13-07-2019 07:54

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