Director of ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ Arrested For Rs. 34 Crore GST Fraud

Director of an upcoming film ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ based on India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh starring veteran actor Anupam Kher, Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, has been arrested for alleged Goods and Services Tax (GST) fraud of over Rs. 34 crore.

Gutte was arrested by the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGSTI) on Thursday and produced before a metropolitan magistrate court here which remanded him in judicial custody till August 14, he said.

“Gutte has been booked under section 132 (1)(c) of the CGST Act, which pertains to ‘wrongful availment’ of input tax credit using bills and invoices that have been issued without any supply of goods or services,” the official said.

Gutte’s firm, VRG Digital Corp Pvt Ltd, allegedly procured 149 fake invoices involving GST of Rs. 34.37 crore for animation and manpower services received from another company, Horizon Outsource Solutions Pvt Ltd, said the official.

The DGGSTI had earlier arrested the director of Horizon Outsource Solutions for an alleged GST fraud in May 2018.

The agency’s probe into the case revealed that  Gutte’s firm was one of the top clients of Horizon Outsource and was shown as receiving services of about Rs. 266 crore with a GST implication of Rs. 34.37 crore, even as there was no actual supply of services, the official said.

According to the rules, in cases where the amount of tax evaded or the amount of input tax credit wrongly availed or utilised, or the amount of refund wrongly taken exceeds Rs. 5 crore, the accused is liable to be fined and imprisoned for up to five years.

The agency has claimed that the VRG Digital Corp Pvt Ltd wrongfully claimed a cash refund of Rs. 28 crore from the government against Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT) credit received for these bogus invoices since July 2017.

The agency said that Gutte has not only availed non-existent input tax credit (ITC), but also fraudulently claimed refund of the ITC from the GST department on the basis of bogus invoices and  by doing so he has defrauded and caused loss to the state exchequer.

Gutte’s father Ratnakar Gutte is a prominent sugar baron of Parbhani and had contested the 2014 Assembly elections as a BJP-alliance candidate but lost to the Nationalist Congress Party.

Gutte has so far produced three films – ‘Emotional Attyachar’, ‘Time Bara Vait’ and ‘Badmashiyaan’ and ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ set to release on 21 December is his directorial debut.

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