A recent crackdown by the Legal Metrology department of Telangana government has exposed a massive Goods and Services Tax (GST) fraud here where malls, multiplexes and restaurants were deliberately over-charging and looting people.
Nearly 5000 raids were conducted in a period of six days after which 1062 cases were filed against those found flouting rules.
The raids were conducted after department received over 10,000 complaints against small traders to big shopping malls, restaurants and even multiplexes alleging they have been charging GST on MRP, non GST items and even selling at a higher price claiming GST.
"Mostly cases have been booked in Hyderabad. Detailed checks were carried out in malls, multiplexes, star hotels, restaurants, bars, sweet houses and other business points. Till now, Rs 10.62 lakh penalty has been laid against those found violating rules and more are in trial stages," said the Commissioner of Controller & Legal Metrology.
Cases have been booked against Hyderabad Central Mall, PVR cinemas, KFC, McDonald, Prasad IMAX, Subway, Sujata Mall, Blue Fox Restaurant and many more, who were found cheating people by charging GST on MRP.
For first time violaters, the penalty imposed was from Rs 2000-25,000. For those caught for the second time, penalty would be doubled.
The department is advising public to be alert and creating various awareness campaigns. "People must check bill. MRP includes all taxes. So if someone is charging on MRP, that is wrong," said an official.
A Social activist who have filed numerous complaints about restaurants over-charging said, "After my complaint, case was registered and the restaurant was even fined. But most of the public do not take the pain to see the bill or even question as to why they are being over charged. There is redressal mechanism, but many times authorities do not have the knowledge of how to deal with it. Even if it’s a clear case of cheating, it takes so much time for a common man to get officials to act."
As complaints continue to pour in, the department plans to intensify raids against GST fraud cases in the coming days.