The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has launched a crackdown against fake GST firms racket and carried out searches at 25 locations across three States to unearth the nexus of persons making documents to help generate bogus Input Tax Credit (ITC).

The ED swung into action after taking up a case Bhavnagar police station of Gujarat registered against Mohammad Ejaj Bomar, Aman Chauhan, Khalid Chauhan, and Rajubhai Chauhan who were indulging in GST frauds. All four were arrested in ₹4,120 crore fake GST billing scam in February.

The ED sleuths carried out searches on June 2 at the premises of accused persons in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Bhavnagar, Botad, Gandhidham — all in Gujarat — Mumbai and Bengaluru.

During the search, a large volume of incriminating documents such as forms for changing mobile numbers from Aadhaar cards, fake bills issued from these bogus entities, and digital evidences were seized under the provisions of PMLA 2002, the agency stated. Cash amounting to ₹29 lakh was also seized.

As per a chargesheet of police, the ED stated the accused persons have changed the mobile number linked to the Aadhaar cards of several persons promising them financial assistance under the government scheme.

Later on, they used these Aadhaar for obtaining PAN. The modus operandi of this fraud was to create fake entities through forged documents to obtain GST registration. “Fake invoices of more than ₹1,102 crore involving evasion of GST of ₹122 crore using 461 bogus firms were issued,” stated ED.

“Later on these fake entities are passing on ITC to beneficiaries by generating fake invoices on a commission basis. Payment for these fake invoices is made through banking channels and later on, the amount is settled in cash between the operator of the fake entity and beneficiary,” ED alleged in an official statement.

The agency is continuing with its probe to ascertain more details about the scam.

ED’s third chargesheet in Kerala Gold smuggling

The ED has filed a third chargesheet in the Kerala gold smuggling case after the arrest of its kingpin Ramees KT on May 5.

During the interrogation, the ED confronted Ramees with more than 2,000 voice memos of Telegram chats between him and his associates involved in the gold smuggling. He had divulged the names of various investors who have sponsored the gold smuggling including persons from Dubai and also names of some of the beneficiaries.

ED conducted an investigation and found out that 27 accused persons were allegedly involved in the offence of money laundering and have been charge-sheeted now. The ED also issued a third provisional attachment order for confiscating various movable and immovable properties worth ₹4.65 crore.

Those properties were included in the present charge sheet with a prayer for confiscating them under PMLA 2002, said the ED in an official statement. The total attachment of properties in this case so far comes to ₹21.50 crore.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Principal Secretary M Sivasankar was suspended and removed from the post after a preliminary inquiry confirmed that he had links with Swapna Suresh, one of the accused in the gold smuggling case. Other than Sivasankar and Suresh, the ED had also arrested PS Sarith and Sandeep Nair.