As the government has stepped up action against financial irregularities and frauds, cases by various agencies such as Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGSTI) recorded a significant increase over the last four years. When it comes to direct and indirect taxes, though, there is a clear divergent trend.
A closer look at government data reveals that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has registered an over six-fold increase in the number of prosecution cases filed in courts to 4,524 in 2017-18 from 669 in 2014-15. Searches and seizure by CBDT have also seen a spurt, rising to 1,152 in 2016-17 and 581 in 2017-18 (provisional) from 545 in 2014-15. On the indirect tax front, though, a significant drop in the evasion cases detected by the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (formerly Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence) is evident, with 237 cases involving amount of Rs 1,332.6 crore detected in 2017-18 and 155 cases involving Rs 727.1 crore in 2018-19 (up to June), as against 1,550 cases involving Rs 12,112.5 crore in 2015-16. In 2016-17, the agency had detected 2,011 cases involving amount of Rs 15,074.1 crore.
Recovery in evasion cases involving GST (earlier Central excise and service tax) have also registered a sharp decline from Rs 1,975.4 crore recovered in 1,067 cases in 2015-16 to Rs 354.9 crore in 93 cases in 2017-18 and Rs 475.8 crore in 127 cases in 2018-19 (up to June), government data showed. Interestingly, the number of persons arrested by DGGSTI have increased from 14 in 2015-16 to 23 in 2017-18.
The value of total assets seized by CBDT increased to Rs 1,469.45 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 997.17 crore (provisional) from Rs 761.70 crore in 2014-15, while the undisclosed income increased to Rs 15,754.95 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 10,228.05 crore in 2014-15.
Cases involving fraud detected by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have nearly doubled to 847 in 2017-18 from 437 in 2015-16. The amount of duty recovered in these cases increased to Rs 956.03 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 500.09 crore in 2015-16. In 2018-19, up to July, DRI detected 181 fraud cases and recovered duty of Rs 724.63 crore.
A steady rise has also been recorded in the investigations by Registrar of Companies that have increased to 119 in 2017-18 and 83 in 2018-19 (till date) from 2 in 2015-16 and 3 in 2016-17. Till August this year, 19 persons/companies have been convicted in 91 criminal complaints, data showed.