Case Law Details

Case Name : Amit Kumar Vs Union of India (Gauhati High Court)
Appeal Number : Case No. Bail Appln./1714/2021
Date of Judgement/Order : 23/08/2021
Related Assessment Year :

Amit Kumar Vs Union of India (Gauhati High Court)

Court have considered the materials on record and found that this complaint alleges commission of an economic offence of huge magnitude and therefore, a thorough and detail investigation is essential. Further, considering the enormous materials collected and placed before this Court, vide the record, in respect of manipulation of invoices, etc and thereby allegedly evading tax by the petitioner to the tune of Rs. 28,97,85,917/- by way of illegally availing ITC, the enlargement of the petitioner on bail, at this stage is likely to hamper the investigation and tamper evidence which may amount to compromising with the entire investigation of the case.

 This Court has also taken note of the fact that the investigation of the case, involves a huge number of documents to be examined at different levels and at different places necessitating reasonably sufficient time to the Investigating Agency.

 In view of the observations made in para 12 and 13 above, the prayer for bail of the petitioner stands rejected, at this stage.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF GAUHATI HIGH COURT

Heard Mr. KN Choudhury, learned senior counsel assisted by Mr. B Sharma, learned counsel for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. SC Keyal, learned Standing Counsel, GST.

[2] This is an application, filed under Section 439 of the Cr.PC. seeking bail of the accused-petitioner, namely, Shri Amit Kumar, in connection with GST Case No. CGST/DGGI/GST/1928/2021, under Section 132 of Central Goods and Service Act, 2017.

[3] Perused the record of the case produced before this Court.

[4] The accusations against the present petitioner, as revealed from the materials placed before this Court, is that he is involved in generation of invoices without actual supply of goods. The petitioner has been operating under the trade name, M/s Maruti Traders, bearing GSTIN No. 18AKGPK7676Q1Z4. He has been engaged in fraudulent practices of availing as well as passing on Input Tax Credit (ITC) accumulated through issuance of fake Goods and Service Tax (GST) invoices and corroborating the same through issuance of E-way bills without actual supply of goods. The declared principal place of business of Maruti Traders 18AKGPK7676Q174, NH-37 Beltola, near Kamrup Weigh Bridge, Assam is vague and fictitious and does not exist. However, during the search in the undeclared premises, Vision (an interior decoration hub) building, Jayanagar, Tripura Road, Guwahati, a huge quantity of incriminating documents belonging to M/s Maruti Traders bearing GSTIN No. 18AKGPK7676Q1Z4 like E-way bills, invoices, kaccha cash exchange details, bank cheque books used for running the racket, etc. were found. Thereafter, search at multiple places related to M/s Maruti Traders and the present petitioner also led to seizure of incriminating documents, such as E-way bills, invoices, kaccha cash exchange details, bank cheque books used for running the racket, etc.

[5] Choudhury, learned senior counsel for the petitioner, while praying for bail of the petitioner has submitted that specifically there is no allegation against the present petitioner for an offence under Section 132(1) of the Central Goods and Service Act (CGST Act). He has also submitted that no prayer is made by the concerned CGST authority not to release the petitioner on bail. It has further been submitted that the only accusation against the present petitioner is in respect of falsifying accounts of his firm, M/s Maruti Traders.

[6] It has further been submitted by Mr. Choudhury, learned senior counsel for the petitioner that the accused petitioner has been in custody for a month, as on date, w.e.f. 19.07.2021, and therefore, his further custodial detention is absolutely not necessary in the interest of investigation of the case.

[7] Keyal, learned Standing Counsel, CGST has objected to the prayer for bail on the grounds that the investigation is still on and some vital clues have been collected requiring further detail investigation into the matter, involved in this case. He has further submitted that this is a huge economic offence committed against the State by the petitioner evading GST to the tune of Rs. 28,97,85,917/- by availing irregular ITC. Mr. Keyal has further submitted that this is not a simple case of falsification of accounts of M/s Maruti Traders, rather, it is a case of preparation of fake invoices, issuance of invoice without supplying goods as well as a case of evasion of tax of a huge amount, covering the offences under Section 132(1), particularly, under Section 132(1)(b)&(c) punishable under Section 132(1)(i) of the Act

[8] Keyal has also referred to the materials on record and submitted specifically on the basis of a statement prepared in connection with this case in respect of interstate inward EWB details with movement of vehicle for Jan-21 as verified from E-way bill portal and pointed out that the vehicle allegedly carrying coals did not originate from the place and reached the place, as indicated in the respective E-way bills.

[9] I have gone through the records placed before this Court to verify such submissions made by Mr. Keyal, learned Standing Counsel, CGST and the same is found to have been subscribed by the statement, referred to above. Instead of detailing what has been found recorded in the aforesaid statement, this Court would like to refer to atleast two E-way bills, out of many, to record that the submissions made by Mr. Keyal, on this count, is based on materials on record.

Interstate inward EWB details with movement of vehicle for Jan-21 as verified from E-way bill portal

EWB details

It appears from the statement above that atleast in one case there was no record that the truck reached Beltola and in the other one, although the destination of the truck was Beltola, the truck went to Gujarat.

[10] It has further been submitted by Mr. Keyal, that considering the huge amount of alleged tax evasion, involvement of a chain of persons and a huge number of documents/papers, to enable the concerned authority to conduct a thoroughly detail investigation, prayer for bail be rejected.

[11] The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the case of S. Jagan Mohan Reddy -vs- Central Bureau of Investigation, reported in (2013) 7 SCC 439, held as follows:-

34. Economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail. The economic offence having deep rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country”.

[12] I have considered the materials on record and found that this complaint alleges commission of an economic offence of huge magnitude and therefore, a thorough and detail investigation is essential. Further, considering the enormous materials collected and placed before this Court, vide the record, in respect of manipulation of invoices, etc and thereby allegedly evading tax by the petitioner to the tune of Rs. 28,97,85,917/- by way of illegally availing ITC, the enlargement of the petitioner on bail, at this stage is likely to hamper the investigation and tamper evidence which may amount to compromising with the entire investigation of the case.

[13] This Court has also taken note of the fact that the investigation of the case, involves a huge number of documents to be examined at different levels and at different places necessitating reasonably sufficient time to the Investigating Agency.

[14] In view of the observations made in para 12 and 13 above, the prayer for bail of the petitioner stands rejected, at this stage.

[15] The petition stands disposed of accordingly.

[16] Return the records produced before this Court.

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