By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 16, 2020: In a bid to curb the growing cases of in input tax credit, the Naveen Patnaik government has decided to amend the Odisha Goods and Services Tax making fraudulent input tax credit and retaining benefit as a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

A decision in this regard to amend the Odisha Goods and Services Tax Act 2017 was taken by the Cabinet on Tuesday. The Naveen Patnaik government will bring Odisha Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2020, in the coming assembly session to ensure that people who do fraudulent GST transactions or passing and availing fraudulent input tax credit would be liable for penalty. The amendment would also make such offences cognizable and non-bailable.

The Cabinet also decided to insert a new section 168A in the Odisha GST Act to extend due dates for various compliances during war, epidemic, flood, drought, fire, cyclone and natural calamities.

The state of late has been witnessing a number of cases involving fraudulent input tax credit by dishonest businessmen of the state. In August, officials in Odisha had busted a racket of fake GST invoice involving Rs 712 crore and arrested a businessman for carrying out fake transaction. Businessman Kashmira Kumar Agrawal had hired middlemen who collected documents like PAN card, Aadhaar Card, photographs from people seeking gainful employment such as housewives, drivers, and plumbers from Sundargarh and Sambalpur districts in exchange for money.

Agrawal, however, misused the documents and created fictitious and dummy firms in the name of these persons and had transferred huge amounts of money to different firms without having any business transactions with them.

In January this year, the state’s GST enforcement authorities arrested two persons for GST frauds worth Rs 212 crore through 28 fictitious and dummy firms in the name of daily wage labourers, private tutors, unemployed youths and housewives. In March, the enforcement officials of GST busted a major fraud in which fake invoices to the tune of Rs 294 were generated by 11 dealers in Bhubaneswar.

At a time when the state’s revenue collection in the first five months of the current fiscal went down by 21 per cent compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal, the growing number of GST frauds has shaken the authorities, e The total collection till August-end in this fiscal was Rs 4362.95 crore as against Rs 5529.33 crore collected during the corresponding period last year.

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