A 40-year-old man in Uttar Pradesh who makes ends meet by selling clothes on the streets of Muzaffarnagar with a turnover of roughly Rs 500 per day was shocked to find GST officials knocking on his door and charged with amassing Rs 366 crore through tax fraud.
Taken aback by the allegations, Ejaz Ahmad, the street vendor, has approached GST officials and other "higher authorities" to intervene in the matter.
Two years ago, Ahmad had registered a small scrap shop at Kawal village under Jansath police limits for a GST number. Initially, he traded waste of Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 a day. But later he left his work as a scrap dealer due to "losses" and started selling clothes on the streets.
I had even asked the CA (chartered accountant) to close that GST account but don't know what happened. I have been selling clothes for two years now. I used to buy junk and supply it in the city earlier. But when the scrap business did not work out, I left home and started selling clothes," Ahmad said, adding, "I want the GST department to find out the real culprit behind this fraud."
Joint commissioner (special investigation branch) of the GST department in west UP, JS Shukla, said on Friday, "Bills worth over Rs 300 crore has been issued. It seems to be a huge racket. A thorough probe is being conducted. Several firms and some individuals are under the scanner."
The GST official added that "a few people are claiming that their firm's account number is being used by someone else. Ejaz Ahmad and his CA are also being questioned. More details can be disclosed only after the investigation." The vendor's house was raided by senior officials of the GST earlier in the week. Ahmad, who was not at home, later filed a complaint with the GST department. He has provided "all the details" to the department and sought a "fair probe" in the matter.