Mumbai: Special CBI Court Convicts World Series Hockey Pvt Ltd & Directors For ₹2 Cr Service Tax Fraud

Mumbai: Special CBI Court Convicts World Series Hockey Pvt Ltd & Directors For ₹2 Cr Service Tax Fraud

The court has, however, acquitted an officer of the service tax department accused of forging a letter addressed to the bank to get the company's account unfrozen.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, December 02, 2023, 06:58 PM IST
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Mumbai: Special CBI Court Convicts World Series Hockey Pvt. Ltd. & Directors For ₹2 Cr Service Tax Fraud | Representational image

The special CBI court has convicted World Series Hockey Pvt. Ltd (WSHPL) and its two directors for default in service amounting to Rs 2 crores. The court has, however, acquitted an officer of the service tax department accused of forging a letter addressed to the bank to get the company's account unfrozen.

WSHPL, directors, sentenced to 2 years imprisonment

The court has found WSHPL and its two directors, namely Sunil Rajendrakishor Manocha (47) and Akash Abnash Khurana (63), guilty and sentenced them to two years of imprisonment. They were later granted bail to appeal against the conviction in the high court. Meanwhile, the court acquitted Sachin Deo, who was posted as an inspector with the service tax department, and Pradeep Kumar Lenka, general manager of Nimbus Communication Ltd, who allegedly had requested the bank not to release the funds held in WSHPL in favor of the government.

According to the prosecution case, WSHPL had a liability of Rs 5.07 crores to the service tax department for the period 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2014. Out of this amount, they had paid Rs.1.41 crores in cash and claimed to have a CENVAT credit balance of Rs.1.57 crores. As they did not pay the admitted balance liability of Rs.2.08 crores, the department issued a notice on May 12, 2014, to attach various bank accounts.

Details of fraud

On January 16, 2015, Axis Bank wrote a letter to the department stating that, as instructed in the letter dated January 14, 2015, issued by AK Singh Deputy Commissioner (Anti Evasion), the account of M/s. WSHPL was made operational. Upon verification, it was found that no such letter was issued to the bank, and there was no one by the name AK Singh in the department.

Further investigation revealed that the company had received an income tax refund of Rs 47 lakhs in the said account, and the same was withdrawn after the account was made operational. It was claimed that the bank was issued a notice requiring it to deposit any money credited to the account of the assessee to the credit of the Central Government, but it failed to do so.

During the probe, it was claimed that an inspector from the service tax department, Sachin Deo, had suggested the accused to get the account unfrozen by submitting a forged letter and, in return, was paid Rs 5 lakhs. The CBI claimed that the letter was prepared from the computer assigned to Deo in the department.

Court's observations

However, during the trial, the court stated that the prosecution failed to prove that the computer was exclusively used by Deo and also that he received the bribe amount. The court, however, accepted the prosecution's case that WSHPL cheated the department by submitting a forged letter to the bank. The court found no evidence of the involvement of Deo and Lenka.

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