3 Maharashtra GST officers suspended for bogus raid

Three GST officers suspended for bogus raid by the state’s goods and services tax division on Tuesday after it was discovered they had taken Rs 11 lakh from a well-known trader in a phoney raid, according to top bureaucrat Rajeev Mittal.

For the first time in the state administration’s history, it published an advertising to announce the removal of insubordinate employees.

Mittal assured TOI that the three were immediately fired from their positions after completing the necessary administrative and legal processes. “The police investigation against the three inspectors will go forward; on our end, we launched a departmental investigation against them, issued a show-cause notice to them, and after hearing their argument, it was decided to remove them to preserve the department’s reputation,” added Mittal.

A senior state official said that an investigation undertaken before to the termination of three GST inspectors—Hitesh Vasaikar, Machindra Kangane, and Prakash Shegar—found that the three had staged an extortion attempt while on the premises of a prominent trader and fled with Rs 11 lakh in cash

On September 17, 2021, the LT Marg police detained three GST inspectors and one private individual for fraud and extortion. On June 14, 2021, the three inspectors had examined a businessman’s Kalbadevi location. They visited Lalchand Wanigota’s office and introduced themselves as GST inspectors.

The owner was instructed to set all of the office’s cash on the table in front of them. The office employees presented them with Rs 30 lakh as a result. After requesting the necessary GST paperwork from Wanigota, the officials seized Rs 11 lakh from him and announced that it will be deposited as Tax.

When Wanigota went to the GST office in Mazgaon, he was informed that there had been no such raid and that it appeared he had been duped. Afterwards, he approached the police station at LT Marg. On the basis of local CCTV footage, all four were recognised and taken into custody. They were fired from their positions once the departmental investigation was finished.

A top bureaucrat stated, “Mittal has taken a brave step; it will go a long way in providing result-oriented management and regaining the people’s confidence in government departments.

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