The Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence has arrested film director Vijay Ratnakar Gutte for alleged fraud amounting to Rs 34 crore, The Indian Express reported on Friday. Gutte is currently working on his upcoming film The Accidental Prime Minister, which is based on a book by the same name written by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s media advisor Sanjaya Baru.
A Mumbai court has sent Gutte to judicial custody at Arthur Road jail till August 14.
The daily quoted from court documents which accused Gutte’s firm VRD Digital Corporation Private Limited of taking “fake invoices” worth Rs 34 crore for animation and manpower services from Horizon Outsource Solutions Private Limited. The latter has been under the government’s radar for committing GST-related fraud estimated at Rs 170 crore.
“The accused had not only availed of non-existent input tax credit but further went ahead and fraudulently claimed refund of such ITC from the GST department on the strength of such fake/ bogus invoices to defraud state exchequer,” the daily quoted the remand application as saying.
VRG Digital Corp is also accused of irregularities in claiming cash refund of Rs 28 crore from the government for the allegedly fake invoices. The filmmaker has been booked for “wrongful availment” of tax credit under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act that pertains to the use of bills and invoices without any supply of goods and services.
Gutte is the son of sugar baron Ratnakar Gutte, who was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate from Maharashtra’s Gangakhed seat in 2014.
Ratnakar Gutte’s firms are also fighting off claims that they committed a bank fraud worth Rs 5,500 crore. On July 17, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde claimed that eight of the sugar baron’s firms had violated the law to defraud several banks and cheat 26,000 farmers.