The story of a businessman duped out of ₹80 lakh in a deceptive GST settlement scheme is a stark reminder of the pitfalls that can lie in financial transactions. Two Superintendents of the Mumbai Customs Department and a police constable fraudulently extracted the money from the businessman, promising to settle his Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion case1.
In August 2022, the businessman received notices from the GST authorities demanding ₹3.5 crore towards GST and interest, with a warning of potential arrest if he failed to clear the dues. The police officer, claiming to have connections with the Customs and GST authorities, promised to resolve the issue and instructed the businessman to deposit ₹1.86 crore with the GST division. Then, he demanded ₹1 crore in cash as an advance payment to settle the dispute, promising the full amount of ₹1.86 crore would be returned after receiving a response to a show-cause notice.
The businessman was then asked to pay ₹50 lakh and was introduced to two customs officers. Afterward, the remaining ₹50 lakh was demanded. Despite the businessman’s request for a receipt for the initial payment, none was provided. The businessman’s suspicion grew when the GST department did not issue any notices, and in November, he was questioned about his unpaid tax dues. It was then that the businessman realized he had been cheated.
This scam could have been prevented had the businessman used the Castler Escrow platform, a secure, third-party transaction system. Here’s how Castler could have helped:
Secure Payments: Castler Escrow holds funds securely in a third-party account until both parties have met their obligations. In this case, the businessman’s ₹1 crore would have been held securely in the Escrow account until he received the promised resolution and return of his full amount.
Verification of Parties: Castler Escrow verifies the identities of all parties involved in a transaction. If the businessman had used Castler, he would have been assured that the person claiming to resolve his issue was indeed connected to the Customs and GST authorities.
Transparent Procedures: Castler provides full transparency during transactions, ensuring all parties are aware of the progress and stages of the transaction. This would have enabled the businessman to track his payment and ensure his funds were not released until he had received a receipt for his initial payment.
In conclusion, the ₹80 lakh scam serves as a painful lesson about the importance of secure, transparent transactions. Platforms like Castler Escrow can provide a much-needed layer of protection, helping to prevent such unfortunate incidents.