Revenue Investigation body issues public notice to firms involved in suspicious transactionsMost of the firms were allegedly involved in the transaction of fake VAT bills.
The Department of Revenue Investigation has issued a notice to 130 firms and their proprietors to report to the department as it plans to file cases against them for their alleged involvement in suspicious transactions, including the buying and selling of fake bills.
The notice, published in the Gorkhapatra daily on Thursday, states that the firms have been asked to appear before the department within seven days as they didn’t respond to several notices served to them.
“The firms must have sold fake VAT bills worth billions of rupees,” said a department official on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
Officials have also raised the flag over suspects who have been operating several bank accounts in the name of different firms. “The fake VAT bill racketeers registered firms in the name of innocent villagers. They then run bank accounts of the firms by posing as employees,” the official said. “Some of the racketeers have registered firms in the name of the children of their tenants.”
For example, NBK International is a firm registered in the name of Surendra Sahani from Budiyat, Bara. But, the bank account of the firm is being operated by Saroj Kumar Misra from Godata, Sarlahi. Likewise, Subodh Sah from Dumariya, Sarlahi has been operating the bank accounts of 10 firms registered in the name of different persons.
According to section 11 (A4) of the amended Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act, if anybody accused of revenue evasion could not be served legal notice, a public notice should be issued through radio, television or national newspapers.
Department officials said that while some of the fake VAT bill sellers have not submitted tax details to the authority, others have paid meagre amount in taxes to show they are complying with the rules.
“After the notice was issued, two persons have so far approached the department,” said Dirgha Raj Mainali, director general at the department. He however said that the cases are related to different types of revenue dodging without specifying them.
Mainali said that as the investigation was undergoing, the amount involved in the offenses could not not be confirmed.
In March last year, the department had filed cases at the Kathmandu District Court against 24 individuals for evading Rs1.75 billion in taxes through fake VAT bills. Later in June, cases were filed against 15 individuals charged with evading Rs 2.98 billion in taxes by producing and selling fake Value Added Tax bills.
Later, more cases were filed against the fake VAT bill sellers and purchasers. One of the most recognised names on the spotlight is Varun Beverages, the bottler of Pepsi in Nepal which also faced charges for procuring fake bills and using them in the market.
In 2010-11, tax authorities decided to collect Rs6.69 billion from 518 firms for their involvement in fake VAT bill scandals. The incident had made national headlines due to the involvement of noted industrialists and businessmen.