The present bail applications have been filed under Section 439 Cr.P.C. The petitioners have been arrested in Complaint File No. IV(06) 40/AE/JPR/2021 for offence under Section 132 of the Central Goods And Services Tax Act, 2017 (for brevity, “the Act of 2017”) read with Sub-Section 5 of Section 132 of the Act of 2017.
It is contended by learned counsels for the petitioners that a case was booked by the Office of Director General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence, Jaipur Zonal Unit (for brevity, “DGGI”) on 28.02.2019 against Kapil Vijay and Mohit Vijay. Their interrogation led to enquiry against M/s. Shri Krishna Enterprises (for brevity, “M/s. SKE”). During investigation, Mr. Nitin Kumar Sharma, proprietor of M/s. SKE admitted in his statement recorded on 10.07.2019 that he has availed Input Tax Credit (for brevity, “ITC”) merely on the basis of the invoices issued by the firms created and operated by Kapil Vijay and Mohit Vijay. Ultimately, Mr. Nitin Kumar Sharma was arrested by the DGGI and on the basis of his statement dated 02.03.2021, the petitioners came to be arrested on 26.03.2021 and 27.03.2021 respectively by the office of the Anti-Evasion, Central Goods and Services Tax Commissionerate, Jaipur (for brevity, “CGST”). Assailing their arrest, learned counsel for the petitioners contended that once the DGGI was already seized of the investigation, no investigation could have been carried out by the CGST and it did not have jurisdiction to step-in in the midst of the investigation by the DGGI and effect their arrest. They submitted that only to harass and victimize the petitioners by involving in two cases instead of one, the investigation was bifurcated; one qua the M/s. SKE which was transferred to the DGGI and another qua other firms which were kept by the CGST. Learned counsels submitted that the wrongful claim of ITC in the present case has mischievously been inflated to the tune of ₹ 5.27 crores only to render the offence to be non-bailable. Learned counsels submitted that the complaint against them has already been filed, they are not required for further investigation, are in custody since 26.03.2021 and 27.03.2021 respectively, have no criminal antecedents except the present complaint filed by the CGST and the another complaint filed by the DGGI; both involving part of same transaction and prayed for their release on bail.
Mr. Siddharth Ranka, learned counsel appearing for the respondent No.1 submitted that there are grave allegations against the petitioners of wrongfully availing ITC not only to the tune of ₹ 5.27 crores qua the firms namely M/s. Imran Impex, Ajmer, M/s. Shri Ram Ispat, Jaipur, M/s. Indra Enterprises, Jaipur, M/s. Dak Rolls Pvt. Ltd. and M/s. Shakumbhari Steels, Jaipur which exists on papers only; but, of the ITC to the tune of ₹ 25.27 crores also qua M/s. SKE for which separate complaint has been filed by the office of the DGGI. Learned counsel submitted that the investigation is still going on and in view of the gravity of offence committed by the petitioners, they do not deserve indulgence of bail.
Mr. Kinshuk Jain, learned counsel appearing for the respondent No.2, drawing attention of this Court towards the averments made in the memo of bail applications filed by the petitioners wherein the offence has been claimed to be bailable and non-cognizable, submitted that the bail applications deserve to be dismissed only on account of wrongful averment therein. He submitted that the petitioners are members of a large racket which has been found involved in issuing fake invoices in the neighbourhood of ₹123 crores and ₹85 lacs for which there are about 160 beneficiaries. He submitted that voluntary statements of the petitioners dated 25.03.2021 recorded under Section 70 of the CGST Act, 2017 prove their guilt. Learned counsel submitted that the petitioners are guilty of destroying the cogent evidence. He too submitted that the investigation is pending and hence, the petitioners should not be enlarged on bail.
Heard learned counsels for the parties and perused the record.
A perusal of the complaint filed by the DGGI before the Court of learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offence), Jaipur against the petitioners reveals that a case was booked by the office of DGGI on 28.02.2019 against two persons namely Kapil Vijay & Mohit Vijay for issuance of invoices/bids on commission without actual supply of goods and thereby facilitating the wrong availment of ITC to the tune of ₹139.04 crores to various beneficiaries-firms. The investigation found involvement of M/s. SKE also in the offence. While CGST was carrying out the investigation with regard to M/s. Salasar Enterprises for alleged tax evasion, evasion by M/s. SKE was also found whereupon, search was carried out at the premises of M/s. SKE which ultimately led to arrest of the present petitioners. As per the respondents’ case, since with regard to tax evasion by M/s. SKE, the DGGI was already carrying out the investigation, the same was transferred to it and rest investigation qua five other firms, allegedly existing on papers only, was kept by the CGST wherein, the petitioners were arrested on 26.03.2021 & 27.03.2021 respectively.
This Court notices that a Coordinate Bench of this Court has, vide its judgment/order dated 02.06.2020, extended the accused Mohit Vijay and Kapil Vijay @ Kapil Vijayvargiya benefit of bail in the complaint filed under the provisions of the Act of 2017 by the DGGI. As is apparent from the contents of complaint filed by the DGGI against the petitioners, the entire exercise of investigation which led to arrest of the petitioners, started from the investigation against Mr. Mohit Vijay & Kapil Vijay against whom the allegation was of the tax evasion to the tune of ₹139.05 crores. The petitioners are stated to be part of same racket. It has been admitted by the learned counsels for the Revenue that the order dated 02.06.2020 has attained finality as it was not assailed further.
Taking into consideration that the petitioners are in custody since 26.03.2021 & 27.03.2021 respectively, the complaint has already been filed against them; indisputably, they are not warranted for further investigation, the maximum punishment awardable in such case is of five years, the offence is compoundable though, none has initiated any proceedings in this regard and the factum of release of accused persons namely Mohit Vijay & Kapil Vijay on bail by this Court; but, without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, this court deems it just and proper to enlarge the petitioners on bail.
Accordingly, these bail applications are allowed and it is directed that accused-petitioners 1. Manoj Vijay S/o Sh. Prahalad Vijay & 2. Ravindra Vijay S/o Sh. Kailash Chand Vijay shall be released on bail under Section 439 Cr.P.C. in connection with afore-mentioned FIR registered at concerned Police Station, provided each of them shall furnish 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 they shall comply with all the conditions laid down under Section 437(3) Cr.P.C.