Case Law Details

Case Name : Pawan Kumar Singla Vs. DGGI (Patiala House Court)
Appeal Number :
Date of Judgement/Order : 24/12/2020
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (6452)

Pawan Kumar Singla Vs. DGGI (Patiala House Court)

In the given facts, accused is a old man of 66 years of age apparently having clean antecedents as no evidence has been brought forth by the department to show that he has previously been involved/engaged in similar offences. Further, the conduct of the accused seems to be reasonable during investigation as it has not come from the department that he evaded arrest or remained defiant to the directions of the 10. The accused is in custody since 25.11.2020 for about a month and during this time the department got him examined only once which makes it clear that his custodial interrogation is no more required. Having a poor health due to several/multiple diseases may be due to old age is a relevant factor and same can be considered where other yardsticks of granting bail are met out.

Furthermore, there is no justification for classifying offence into different categories such as an economic offences and for refusing bail on the ground that the offence involved belonging to particular category. It cannot, therefore, be said that bail should invariably be refused in cases involving socio economic offences.”

Further, the investigating agency is having the possession of all the documentary evidence collected so far and although the investigation is ongoing for collection of some more documents/incriminating material, the bail should not be refused where the accused does not seem to be a threat to the ongoing investigation. Court is required to make a balance between the conflicting interest namely the sanctity of individual liberty and the rights of the department and the interest of the department can be safeguarded by putting conditions on the accused so that he should not come in the way of fair and proper investigation in future also. Personal liberty of an individual should not be incised unless there are valid consideration. There is nothing to show that accused had hampered or may hamper the investigation.

Accordingly, considering the overall facts and circumstances which includes his age, antecedents, conduct the accused is entitled for bail subject to furnishing PB/SB in the sum of Rs. 5 lacs with one surety in the like amount subject to following conditions:-

  1. That the accused shall join the investigation as and when directed by the investigating agency.
  2. The accused shall not tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses which will be examined by the department during investigation.
  3. That accused shall not leave the country without the permission of the Court and deposit his passport with the 10 within seven days.
  4. That accused shall not indulge in similar offence in future.
  5. That accused shall appear before the Court on each and every date of hearing.

The application stands disposed off.

FULL TEXT OF THE PATIALA HOUSE COURT ORDER

Arguments heard. Perused.

On behalf of accused it is submitted that accused is 66 years of age and he joined the investigation on first summon itself and did not abscond or flee away. It is submitted that accused is suffering from several diseases and for muscular hole in retina he requires surgical treatment. It is submitted that his medical conditions make him more susceptible to Covid-19 virus. It is submitted that not even a single rupee has been received by the accused in his personal account and there is no documentary proof of applicant received any monetary benefit from the alleged offence. It is submitted that the applicant cannot be termed as main beneficiary as enquiries from other stake holders is still to be carried out and rather accused company has already paid the entire GST. It is submitted that applicant was not interrogated even once during custody and has retracted from his statement given to the department. It is submitted that considering the age, frail health and the conduct of the accused, accused be enlarged on bail.

On behalf of department it is submitted that accused has utilized and availed ineligible input tax credit to the tune of Rs. 13.90 crore On the strength of goods less invoices received by the said company from various bogus firms on commission basis. It is submitted that search was conducted at their office, factory premises additional places and the additional place of business as show in the registration was found to be closed. It is submitted that accused admitted to having availed and utilized inadmissible ITCS amounting to Rs. 13.90 crore. It is submitted that investigation are still under way and enquiries from various other stakeholders and recovery of documents is still pending. It is submitted that accused is the main beneficiary and played a major role in the entire fraud of availing fake ITC. It is submitted that the medical condition so described by the accused cannot be termed as alarming and adequate medical infrastructure is available inside the jail.

Heard. Perused.

For the purpose of deciding a bail application only prima facie look on the facts through the prism of guiding principles is required and not a meticulous analysis of the factual matrix. The law of bail dovetails on various facts and the golden principles laid down from time to time by the higher Courts. In Dipak Subhash Chandra Mehta Vs. CBI : (2012) 45CC134 Hon’ble Apex Court held that …”the Court granting bail should exercise its discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. Though at the stage of granting bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits of the case need not be undertaken, there is need to indicate in such orders reasons for prima facie concluding whey bail was being granted, particularly, where the accused is charged of having committed serious offence.

The Court granting bail has to consider, among other circumstances, the factors such as:

a) The nature of accusation and severity of punishment in case of conviction and the nature of supporting evidence;

b) reasonable apprehension of tampering with the evidence or apprehension of threat to the complainant.

c) Prima facie satisfaction of the court in support with the charge. In addition to the same, the court while considering a petition for grant of bail in a non bailable offence apart from the seriousness of the offence, likelihood of the accused fleeing from the justice and tampering with the prosecution witness, have to be noted.

In the given facts, accused is a old man of 66 years of age apparently having clean antecedents as no evidence has been brought forth by the department to show that he has previously been involved/engaged in similar offences. Further, the conduct of the accused seems to be reasonable during investigation as it has not come from the department that he evaded arrest or remained defiant to the directions of the 10. The accused is in custody since 25.11.2020 for about a month and during this time the department got him examined only once which makes it clear that his custodial interrogation is no more required. Having a poor health due to several/multiple diseases may be due to old age is a relevant factor and same can be considered where other yardsticks of granting bail are met out.

So far as the concern of the department that the instant case is falls under the socio economic offence leading to loss to exchequer, in this regard the following judgment is important , “H.B. Chaturvedi Vs. CBI : 2010(3) JCC 2109 it was held by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi ” para 12…Bail, it has been held in catena of decision is not to be withheld as punishment. Even assuming that the accused is prima facie guilty of a grave offence, bail cannot be refused in an indirect process of punishing the accused person before he is convicted.

Furthermore, there is no justification for classifying offence into different categories such as an economic offences and for refusing bail on the ground that the offence involved belonging to particular category. It cannot, therefore, be said that bail should invariably be refused in cases involving socio economic offences.”

Further, the investigating agency is having the possession of all the documentary evidence collected so far and although the investigation is ongoing for collection of some more documents/incriminating material, the bail should not be refused where the accused does not seem to be a threat to the ongoing investigation. Court is required to make a balance between the conflicting interest namely the sanctity of individual liberty and the rights of the department and the interest of the department can be safeguarded by putting conditions on the accused so that he should not come in the way of fair and proper investigation in future also. Personal liberty of an individual should not be incised unless there are valid consideration. There is nothing to show that accused had hampered or may hamper the investigation.

Accordingly, considering the overall facts and circumstances which includes his age, antecedents, conduct the accused is entitled for bail subject to furnishing PB/SB in the sum of Rs. 5 lacs with one surety in the like amount subject to following conditions:-

1. That the accused shall join the investigation as and when directed by the investigating agency.

2. The accused shall not tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses which will be examined by the department during investigation.

3. That accused shall not leave the country without the permission of the Court and deposit his passport with the 10 within seven days.

4. That accused shall not indulge in similar offence in future.

5. That accused shall appear before the Court on each and every date of hearing.

The application stands disposed off.

Copy of the order be transmitted to Ld. Counsel for applicant through email/whatsapp.

Download Judgment/Order

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