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Tea-Seller Faces Rs 49 Crore IT Penalty Due to Fraudulent Transactions by Longtime Customers

Last updated: 23 May 2024

In a shocking turn of events, Khemraj Dave, a humble tea-seller from Patan, has found himself entangled in a massive financial fraud, leading to an astonishing penalty notice from the Income Tax (IT) department. Dave has been slapped with a penalty of Rs 49 crore for unscrupulous transactions totaling Rs 34 crore conducted in his name.

Dave, who has been running his tea stall in the Patan commodity market since 2014, discovered that two brothers, Alpesh and Vipul Patel, had been fraudulently using his credentials for illegal transactions. This discovery was made after Dave received multiple notices from the I-T department, the first of which he received in August 2023. Unable to read English, Dave initially ignored the notices, only seeking help after the third notice prompted him to consult advocate Suresh Joshi.

Tea-Seller Faces Rs 49 Crore IT Penalty Due to Fraudulent Transactions by Longtime Customers

The advocate's investigation revealed that the I-T department had issued a tax penalty for illegal transactions recorded during the financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16. To Dave’s surprise, the transactions had not been conducted through his own bank account but through another account opened in his name without his knowledge.

The roots of this deceit date back to 2014 when Dave asked Alpesh Patel for assistance in obtaining a PAN card. Alpesh, along with his brother Vipul, ran a brokerage business in the same market where Dave operated his tea stall. Dave handed over his Aadhaar card, PAN card, and photographs to Alpesh, who later returned the Aadhaar card, claiming he needed a photocopy for submission to the I-T department. Dave was then asked to sign several documents, which he did without suspicion.

Years later, Dave learned that the brothers had used his documents to open a bank account in his name, through which they funneled large sums of money. With the help of friends, Dave approached an I-T officer in Patan, who confirmed the existence of the fraudulent account.

Dave promptly filed a complaint with the Patan B Division police. The police investigation led to the discovery of Alpesh and Vipul Patel’s fraudulent activities, resulting in the filing of charges including breach of trust, cheating, forgery, producing forged documents as genuine, criminal conspiracy, and abetment against the brothers. However, the duo has not yet been apprehended.

This incident has sent shockwaves through the local community, highlighting the vulnerabilities faced by small business owners and the ease with which trust can be exploited. As Dave awaits justice, his case serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of vigilance and the potential consequences of misplaced trust.

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