HYDERABAD: The Task Force police on Tuesday cracked open an income-tax refund racket in which a tax consultant and his two accomplices siphoned off taxpayers’ refunds amounting to Rs 60 lakh. By creating fake PAN cards, bank accounts and voter ID cards, they ensured that the tax credits went into their accounts.
According to police commissioner A K Khan, refunds amounting to Rs 60 lakh were credited into the fraudsters’ fake accounts, of which Rs 25 lakh was withdrawn.
Police have seized Rs 2.20 lakh in cash, one laptop, 20 cheque books of various banks, 13 ATM cards and six PAN cards from the fraudsters Following up on a tip-off, police raided houses of tax consultant Perumalla Anand Reddy and Patra Lakshminarayana (both of Anantapur) and Thantla Vivekananda Reddy of Kukatpally, Hyderabad.
The trio had filed 160 IT returns claiming refunds amounting to Rs 1.5 crore, and managed to get 60 refunds into their fake accounts.
Anand Reddy has an office in Anantapur and prepares and files IT and sales tax returns for his clients. He teamed up with Lakshminarayana, a farmer, and Vivekanda Reddy, a realtor, to fashion a refund scam using the data of genuine clients.
As per their modus operandi, Lakshminarayana collected photographs of persons from photo studios and affixed them on PAN card applications. The trio filled the forms with false names and addresses supported by fake ID proofs.
Vivekanada Reddy then opened bank accounts using these and received cheque books and ATM cards.
Anand Reddy then fabricated TDS certificates of his clients without their knowledge. He changed the name of the assessee and PAN numbers using a whitener on the original bank challan of clients and submitted it to claim tax refunds.
One of them would approach a post office and submit a letter to the post master authorising a member of the gang to receive the refund cheque envelope personally from the post office.