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Case Law Details

Case Name : Vishesh Sahal Vs Union Of India (Rajasthan High Court)
Appeal Number : S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Bail Application No. 13658/2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 06/01/2023
Related Assessment Year :

Vishesh Sahal Vs Union Of India (Rajasthan High Court)

Introduction: The Rajasthan High Court recently granted bail to Vishesh Sahal under Section 439 Cr.P.C. in a tax evasion case. This article delves into the legal intricacies of the judgment, analyzing arguments presented by both sides and examining relevant precedents.

Detailed Analysis: The petitioner, Vishesh Sahal, was arrested in connection with Case No. EW-II, Rajasthan/INS-01//607/dt14-06-2022 under Section 132(1) of the Rajasthan Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. Sahal’s counsel argued that he was falsely implicated and that the tax evasion allegations were based on false calculations. They cited precedents and argued for bail.

However, the respondent’s counsel countered with serious allegations of tax evasion amounting to ₹17 crores and document forgery. They cited legal precedents supporting their argument against bail.

The High Court considered these arguments along with the recent Supreme Court judgment in Ratnambar Kaushik’s case. The Supreme Court, in its ruling, emphasized the need to consider bail applications without prejudicing the trial’s outcome. It noted the duration of Sahal’s incarceration and the nature of evidence in the case.

Despite not expressing any opinion on the case’s merits, the High Court deemed it just to grant bail to Sahal. It imposed conditions, including a personal bond and surrendering his passport.

Conclusion: The Rajasthan High Court’s decision to grant bail to Vishesh Sahal underscores the importance of fair trial practices and the consideration of individual circumstances in bail applications. While this judgment offers relief to Sahal, it also highlights the complexities involved in cases of alleged financial wrongdoing.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF RAJASTHAN HIGH COURT

The present bail application has been filed under Section 439 Cr.P.C. The petitioner has been arrested in connection with Case No. EW-II, Rajasthan/INS-01//607/dt14-06-2022 registered at learned Special Court Additional Chief Metropolitan Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offence) Jaipur Metropolitan, Jaipur for the offence under Section(s) 132(1) of the Rajasthan Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (for brevity “the Act of 2017”).

Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner submits that he has falsely been implicated in this case wherein, the amount of tax evaded is based on false calculation. He submits that the petitioner is in custody since 21.07.2022, charge sheet has been filed way back on 16.09.2022, the maximum sentence which can be awarded is five years, the offence is compoundable and prays for his release on bail. He, therefore, in support of his submissions, relied upon judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India dated 05.12.2022 passed in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.10319/2022: Ratnambar Kaushik versus Union of India and dated 11.07.2022 passed in Misc. Application No.1849/2021 in Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.5191/2021: Stender Kumar Antil vs. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondent would submit that there is grave allegation against the petitioner of not only evasion of tax amount to the tune of ₹17 crores; but, of forging the documents too. He, therefore, prayed for dismissal of the bail application. He, in support of his submissions, relied upon judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in case of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy versus Central Bureau of Investigation: (2013) 7 Supreme Court Cases 439 and the judgment dated 05.07.2021 in case of Ashok Kumar Sihotiya versus Union of India: 2021 SCC OnLine Raj 2795 passed by a Coordinate Bench of this Court and another judgment dated 07.09.2021 passed in SB Criminal Miscellaneous Bail Application No.13042/2021: Lalit Goyal versus Union of India & Anr. which was upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its judgment dated 26.08.2022 in Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.3509/2022.

Heard. Considered.

Recently, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has, in case of Ratnambar Kaushik (supra), held as under:-

“5. Though allegations and counter allegations are made, at this stage, it would not be necessary for us to advert to the details of the rival contentions, since the matter in any event is at large before the trial court and any observations on merits herein would prejudice the case of the parties, therein. However, for the limited purpose of answering the prayer for the grant of bail, the contentions are taken note of. It is no doubt true, that an allegation is made with regard to the transportation of unmanufactured tobacco and it is alleged that such procurement of unmanufactured tobacco is for clandestine manufacture and supply of zarda without payment of leviable duties and taxes. Though it is further contended that in the process of the investigation, the transportation of a larger quantity of unmanufactured tobacco weighing about 35,57,450 kgs. is detected, these are all matters to be established based on the evidence, in the trial.

6. In considering the application for bail, it is noted that the petitioner was arrested on 21.07.2022 and while in custody, the investigation has been completed and the charge sheet has been filed. Even if it is taken note that the alleged evasion of tax by the petitioner is to the extent as provided under Section 132(1)(l)(i), the punishment provided is, imprisonment which may extend to 5 years and fine. The petitioner has already undergone incarceration for more than four months and completion of trial, in any event, would take some time. Needless to mention that the petitioner if released on bail, is required to adhere to the conditions to be imposed and diligently participate in the trial. Further, in a case of the present nature, the evidence to be tendered by the respondent would essentially be documentary and electronic. The ocular evidence will be through official witnesses, due to which there can be no apprehension of tampering, intimidating or influencing. Therefore, keeping all these aspects in perspective, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, we find it proper to grant the prayer made by the petitioner.

7. Hence, it is directed that the petitioner be released on bail subject to the conditions to be imposed by the trial Court, which among others, shall also include the condition to direct the petitioner to deposit his passport. Further, such other conditions shall also be imposed by the trial Court to secure the presence of the petitioner to diligently participate in the trial. It is further directed that the petitioner be produced before the trial Court forthwith, to ensure compliance of this order.”

In present case, the petitioner is in custody since 21.07.2022 and charge sheet has been filed on 16.09.2022. Taking into consideration the contentions advanced by learned counsels for the respective parties and especially the law laid down by the Hon’be Supreme Court of India in case Ratnambar Kaushik (supra); but, without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, this Court deems it just and proper to enlarge the petitioner on bail.

Accordingly, the bail application is allowed and it is directed that accused-Vishesh Sahal S/o Shri Dinesh Prakash Sahal shall be released on bail under Section 439 Cr.P.C. in connection with afore-mentioned FIR registered at concerned Police Station, provided he furnishes a personal bond in the sum of Rs.1,00,000/-(Rupees One Lac only) together with two sureties in the sum of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) each to the satisfaction of the trial court with the stipulation that he shall comply with all the conditions laid down under Section 437(3) Cr.P.C.

The petitioner is further directed to deposit his passport, if any, with the learned trial Court and not to travel abroad without its prior permission.

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