Chandigarh: The Punjab Excise and Taxation Department conducted a raid at the residence of a trader in Mandi Gobindgarh as part of its investigation into an over Rs 100 crore fake GST bill fraud, officials said.

A senior official, who was part of the operation, said a raid was carried out yesterday at the house of the trader, believed to be one of the kingpins of the fraud. More than 200 files of bills and a hard disc were seized by sleuths of the department during the raid at the businessman's residence in the town in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

"We found very heavy transactions in his bank accounts of his three firms and the businessman who was operating from his house was suspected to be involved in bogus GST bill trading," the officer said.

The state excise and taxation department had been probing a fake GST bill fraud wherein some unscrupulous companies were selling bogus GST bills to some firms to enable them to claim input tax credit, allow movement of "unaccounted" goods to other states and to justify out of books transactions.

Highlighting the modus operandi of these traders, the official said, "Operators of such companies get about 9- 10 per cent of the billing amount as their share in supplying fake GST bill."

Probe conducted by the department revealed that the purchase and sale of fake GST bills, involving large amounts, was rampant in several sectors, especially iron and steel, hosiery and ready-made garments businesses located in Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh.

The department learnt about it while scanning the GSTN data. "During analysis of GSTN data, we found at least 100 companies in Ludhiana which were involved in selling fake bills. During physical verification, it was found that the premises of the companies were not at the declared addresses. We have issued them show cause notices," he added.

"It could be a fraud of over Rs 100 crore," he said, adding that the department would get the GSTN number of unscrupulous companies cancelled. "Efforts are also being made to trace the companies which purchased the fake GST bills," the official said, adding that the department had formed a special team to unearth the fraud. (PTI)