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Case Law Details

Case Name : Sumit Dutta So Vinod Dutta Vs Union of India (Rajasthan High Court)
Appeal Number : S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous 5th Bail Application No. 12427/2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 29/09/2022
Related Assessment Year :

Sumit Dutta S/o Vinod Dutta Vs Union of India (Rajasthan High Court)

Introduction: Sumit Dutta, represented by counsel, filed a fifth bail application under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. before the Rajasthan High Court. The case pertains to a complaint filed with the CGST and Central Excise Commissionerate, Jaipur, alleging offences under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

Detailed Analysis:

The applicant’s counsel argues that despite a maximum sentence of five years, the matter is still in the pre-charge evidence stage. Only 7 out of 12 witnesses have been examined, and Sumit Dutta has already been in custody for one year and eight months. However, the Union of India vehemently opposes the bail application, citing the dismissal of the fourth bail application and the subsequent examination of six witnesses by the Trial Court.

Reference is made to the case of “Lalit Goyal vs. Union of India & Anr.” where the Supreme Court directed expeditious trial conclusion, emphasizing the need for swift justice.

Conclusion: Considering the gravity of the allegations involving a significant amount and the prolonged custody period, the Rajasthan High Court dismisses Sumit Dutta’s fifth bail application. However, the Court directs the Trial Court to expedite the trial, setting a strict timeline of six months for conclusion, with instructions for day-to-day hearings if necessary.

This decision highlights the court’s commitment to expeditious justice delivery while ensuring fair proceedings for all parties involved.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF RAJASTHAN HIGH COURT

1. Applicant has filed this fifth bail application under Section 439 of Cr.P.C.

2. Complaint File No. IV(06)157/AE/JPR/2020 was registered with the CGST and Central Excise Commissionerate, Jaipur for offence under Section 132(1)(b) & (c) read with Section 132(1)(i) and Sub-Section (5) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

3. It is contended by counsel for the applicant that the maximum sentence provided for the offence is five years. Matter is still at the stage of pre charge evidence. Out of 12 witnesses, only 7 witnesses have been examined till date. Applicant has remained in custody for a period of one year and eight months.

4. Counsel for the Union of India has vehemently opposed the fifth bail application. It is contended that fourth bail application of the present applicant was dismissed on 17.05.2022 and all the arguments which have been advanced by counsel for the applicant, was considered by this Court. It is also contended that there is no change in circumstance, rather after rejection of the fourth bail application, six witnesses have been examined by the Trial Court.

5. Counsel for the Union of India has placed reliance on “Lalit Goyal vs. Union of India & Anr.(Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s).3509/2022), where the Special Leave Petition was dismissed by the Hon’ble Apex Court and Trial Court was directed to conclude the trial as expeditiously as possible, preferably within six months.

6. I have considered the contentions.

7. In “Lalit Goyal vs. Union of India & Anr.(S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.13042/2021), bail application was dismissed by the Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur Bench, Jaipur, on 07.09.202 1 and date of arrest was 22.02.2021. In Special Leave Petition filed by the accused, the order passed by the High Court was confirmed. However, the Apex Court decided the case on 26.08.2022 and as accused had remained in custody for a period of one year and six months, the Apex Court directed the Trial Court to conclude the trial within six months.

8. Admittedly, the matter is at pre charge evidence and out of 12 witnesses, only 7 witnesses have been examined in pre charge evidence. It is true that after rejection of the fourth bail application wherein also the direction was given to the Trial Court to expedite the disposal of the case, the Trial Court has recorded the statement of the witnesses and six witnesses have been examined in the last four months.

9. The Apex Court in “Lalit Goyal vs. Union of India & Anr.” (supra), which was a matter where the allegations against the accused was with regard of claim of input tax credit to the tune of 18.91 crores and accused had remained in custody for a period of one year and six months, directed the Trial Court to conclude the trial within six months.

10. In the present case, the allegation pertains to an amount of about Rs. 47 crores and the custody period is one year and eight months, I, therefore, do not deem it proper to enlarge the accused-applicant on bail.

11. Hence, this fifth bail application is dismissed.

12. However, taking note of the fact that this Court directed the Trial Court to expedite the disposal of the case, but till date the trial has not concluded and still is at the stage of pre charge evidence, hence, this Court deems it appropriate to direct the Trial Court to conclude the trial within six months and for that purpose even if Trial Court has to fix the date day to day, the same should be done.

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