MLM chain Highrich Group MD arrested for last GST Evasion in Kerala

The Kerala GST intelligence wing has arrested the director of Highrich Online Shoppe Pvt Ltd, a Thrissur-based MLM company, on charges of tax evasion totaling Rs 126 crore, constituting the state’s most significant GST evasion case to date.

By Navasree A.M – On December 5, 2023 5:55 pm – 2 mins read The Kerala GST intelligence wing has apprehended the director of a Thrissur-based multi-level marketing (MLM) company, Highrich Online Shoppe Pvt Ltd, for alleged tax evasion amounting to a staggering Rs 126 crore. This marks the largest GST evasion case identified by the state GST department. Prathapan Kolatt Dasan, the director of Highrich Online Shoppe, was arrested by the GST intelligence Kasaragod unit on December 1. Rameshan Kolikara, a Senior Intelligence officer from the Intelligence wing in Kasaragod, confirmed the arrest but refrained from providing further details, reported The New Indian Express The arrest has raised eyebrows, as it contrasts with the usual protocol of the GST department promptly issuing press statements in cases of tax evasion exceeding Rs 5 crore. Sources suggest a potential attempt to withhold information. Prathapan was remanded in judicial custody by the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offence) Court.

The arrest followed a raid conducted by the GST intelligence Kasaragod unit at Highrich Online Shoppe’s office in Arattupuzha on November 24, based on information related to GST evasion. The investigation revealed that the company had suppressed a turnover of Rs. 703 crore, with a tax liability of Rs. 126.54 crore. Company directors Prathapan and Sreena K S were summoned for questioning by the deputy commissioner (intelligence) of Kerala GST in Thrissur on November 30. Subsequently, the company made payments of Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs 50 crore on November 24 and 27, respectively, and faced a 15% penalty from Kerala GST. Despite these payments, Prathapan was arrested due to a pending liability of over Rs. 75 crore. An anonymous officer with the GST intelligence wing revealed that the preliminary assessment indicates the company may have operations in other states, suggesting a potentially higher turnover.

The company’s directors have reportedly admitted to the offence. Highrich Shoppe operates as an e-commerce platform based on a multi-level marketing model, according to officials from Kerala GST intelligence. However, criticisms have emerged within the department regarding the handling of the case. Typically, freezing the accounts of the company and the accused is a standard practice to prevent further transactions, but, in this case, no such measures were taken, raising concerns internally. About the Company High Rich, headquartered in Thrissur, is a dynamic e-commerce website that provides an array of genuine and quality products, ranging from grocery to fashion to electronics and everything in between, at the lowest possible rate.

The choice of brands is a combination of all brands available online and offline. Including the known & trusted, the new & emerging brands of all shapes and sizes. High Rich ensures basic services that are expected of every e-commerce site, i.e, a broad selection range, timely delivery and on-time customer assistance, unfailingly every time. We go a step further to deliver products at a price range just above production rate.

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