In a startling incident, officials from the Directorate General of Goods and Services Intelligence (DGGI) arrested Sanjay Matta – a 33-year-old native of Jacobabad city in Pakistan – from Indore. Matta was taken into custody for evading GST and illegally selling pan masala worth crores in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and other neighboring states during the on-going lockdown.
DGGI officials seized unaccounted stock of paan masala/tobacco worth Rs 2.25 crore (most of it allegedly fake) and Rs 66.47 lakh unaccounted cash during a search at Matta’s godown and residence, and attached three immovable properties and five bank accounts belonging to the accused and his associate Sandeep Matta, who is still absconding.
In his statement, Matta has confessed that the seized cash was the sale proceeds of the pan masala/tobacco supplied without issuing the invoice and without payment of GST. It has been estimated that Matta and his associates have evaded GST of around Rs 18.80 crore on the goods, valued at about Rs 40 crore, sold illicitly for cash during the period from April 2019 to May 2020.
The sale and distribution of pan masala and chewing tobacco had also been completely banned across India due to the pandemic-induced lockdown implemented from March 25, considering its risk in spreading COVID-19 infection. However, it said that Mattas sold paan masala in Indore and some other cities of MP and Maharashtra during the lockdown period at 10 times their usual market rates.
Matta was produced before an Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Court in Indore that has remanded him to 14 days judicial custody up to June 17. Also, The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been informed about the case.
The Mattas are living in Indore for several years on long-term visas. The family’s businesses and godowns were raided in 2015 too. Under the guise of a shop (Hariom Traders) in Siyaganj, the Mattas are said to be running this illegal business in the name SS Enterprises for years and have made a fortune out of it.