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Case Law Details

Case Name : Mohammed Ali Akram Khan Vs Union Of India (Rajasthan High Court)
Appeal Number : S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Bail Application No. 13860/2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 06/04/2023
Related Assessment Year :

Mohammed Ali Akram Khan Vs Union Of India (Rajasthan High Court)

In a recent development in the realm of economic offenses, the Rajasthan High Court has granted bail to Mohammed Ali Akram Khan in a case pertaining to GST evasion amounting to a staggering Rs. 88.33 crores. The case, Mohammed Ali Akram Khan vs. Union of India, has stirred significant legal discourse and debate, shedding light on the complexities surrounding economic crimes and the judicial approach towards them.

The bail application was filed under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code, arising from a complaint filed under Sections 132(1)(b), (f), (h), (j), and (l) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. The petitioner, through his counsel, vehemently contended that he had been falsely implicated in the case and had been in custody since August 3, 2022. It was argued that the petitioner had no involvement in the alleged offense and that the primary orchestrator of the scheme was Mohammad Shadab Kadri. Furthermore, the defense highlighted that prior to the arrest, no summons or demand notice was served to the petitioner.

In support of the bail application, various legal precedents were cited, emphasizing the principles of justice and equity in granting bail. The defense underscored the compoundable nature of the offense and the petitioner’s entitlement to bail pending trial, especially considering the potential delay in concluding the trial proceedings.

Contrarily, the prosecution vehemently opposed the bail application, presenting compelling evidence of the petitioner’s involvement in fabricating seven fake firms to avail themselves of illicit input tax credit benefits. It was contended that the petitioner’s actions amounted to a grave economic offense against the nation, warranting stringent judicial scrutiny. Reference was made to judicial pronouncements, including the case of Vinay Kant Ameta, where the Supreme Court had mandated a hefty deposit of Rs. 200 crores as a condition for granting bail in an economic offense case.

After considering the arguments from both sides, the High Court delivered a nuanced judgment, balancing the interests of justice with the seriousness of the alleged offense. Acknowledging the gravity of economic offenses and the need for deterrent measures, the Court directed the petitioner to deposit Rs. 5 crores with the respondent Department ‘under protest’ as a condition for bail. This decision reflects the Court’s commitment to upholding the rule of law while ensuring fairness in the judicial process.

Furthermore, the Court ordered the petitioner to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 along with two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each, with the stipulation of appearing before the trial court on all subsequent hearing dates.

The judgment underscores the judiciary’s proactive approach in combating economic offenses while upholding the principles of bail jurisprudence. By imposing a substantial deposit requirement, the Court sends a strong message against financial malfeasance, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the tax regime and protecting the interests of the public exchequer.

In conclusion, the Rajasthan High Court’s decision in the Mohammed Ali Akram Khan case serves as a significant legal precedent, delineating the contours of bail jurisprudence in economic offense cases. It underscores the imperative of striking a delicate balance between individual liberty and the collective interests of society, ensuring that justice is served equitably and effectively.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF RAJASTHAN HIGH COURT

1. The present bail application has been filed under Section 439 Cr.P.C. arising out of complaint No. DGGI/INV/GST/227/2022-GR-D-O/O ADG-DGGI-ZU-JAIPUR for the offence(s) under Sections 132 (1) (b), (f), (h), (j) & (l) of Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

2. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner has been wrongly implicated in this case. He is behind the bars since 03.08.2022. Charge-sheet has been filed against the petitioner. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submits that offence against the petitioner is triable by Magistrate, compoundable and having maximum punishment of 5 years. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submits that before arrest, no summon or demand notice was given to the petitioner. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submits that Mohammad Shadab Kadri is kingpin in this case. Petitioner has nothing to do with the alleged offence. Conclusion of trial may take long time. Hence, the petitioner may be enlarged on bail.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance upon the following judgments: (1) Dipanshu Gupta Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.3399/2022 decided on 13.04.2022; (2) Satender Kumar Antil Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation & Ors. in Miscellaneous Application No.1849/2021 in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.5191/2021 decided on 11.07.2022; (3) Arnab Manoranjan Goswami Vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. in Criminal Appeal No.742/2020 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.5598/2020) decided on 27.11.2020; (4) Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar in Criminal Appeal No.1277/2014 decided on 02.07.2014; (5) Hanumanthappa Pathrera Lakshmana Vs. State in Criminal Petition No.2419/2020 decided on 11.06.2020; (6) Ratnambar Kaushik Vs. Union of India in SLP (Crl.) No.10319/2022 decided on 05.12.2022; (7) Rakesh Kumar Khandelwal Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.12440/2019 decided on 14.10.2019; (8) Hemant Kumar Singhal Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.8676/2020 decided on 04.11.2020; (9) Anil Kumar Gupta Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.15605/2020 decided on 19.02.2021; (10) Ashwani Kumar Bagpatiya @ golu Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.465/2021 decided on 05.03.2021; (11) Dananjay Singh Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.18825/2021 decided on 05.02.2022; (12) Naresh Chandra Jajra Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.1914/2022 decided on 25.02.2022; (13) Sanjeev Jain Vs. Union of India in Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.3608/2021 decided on 31.05.2021; (14) Gaurav Kumar Aanchaliya Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.3624/2019 decided on 13.05.2019; (15) Chandu @ Chandra Prakash Vs. State of Rajasthan in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.2381/2021 decided on 16.02.2021; (16) Pradeep Kumar Bansal Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.12093/2020 decided on 04.11.2020; (17) Saurabh Kumar Jain Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.2695/2021 decided on 16.08.2021 (18) Khem Chand Thathera Vs. State of Rajasthan in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.13823/2022 decided on 03.01.2023; (19) Vishesh Sahai Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.13658/2022 decided on 06.01.2023; (20) Vikas Bojoria Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.17349/2022 decided on 06.01.2023; (21) Ronak Kumar Jain Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.16083/2021 decided on 04.10.2021; (22) Pridhi Jain Vs. State in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.742/2020 decided on 20.01.2020 and (23) Pramod Kumar Sahoo Vs. State of Odisha in BLAPL No.4125/2020 decided on 23.12.2020.

4. Learned Senior Standing Counsel for the respondent has opposed the arguments advanced by learned senior counsel for the petitioner and submitted that petitioner and co-accused Mohammad Shadab Kadri had made seven fake firms and took Rs.88,33,81,971/- as input tax credit benefit. Learned Senior Standing Counsel for the respondent also submitted that case of Dananjay Singh is not similar to the petitioner because Dananjay Singh had not made any fake firms. Learned Senior Standing Counsel for the respondent also submitted that petitioner has committed economic offence against the nation. Hon’ble Apex Court in various pronouncement has observed that economic offence should not be dealt as a general offence and also submitted that in the case of Vinay Kant Ameta, Hon’ble Apex Court had directed him to deposit Rs.200 Crores for granting bail. So, if this court directs the petitioner to deposit loss of input tax credit of nearing Rs.88.33 Crores, then, respondent shall not have any objection for granting bail to the petitioner otherwise the bail filed by the petitioner be dismissed.

5. Learned Senior Standing Counsel for the respondent has placed reliance upon the following judgments: (1) Satender Kumar Antil Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation & Ors. in Miscellaneous Application No.1849/2021 in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.5191/2021; (2) Nimmagadda Prasad Vs. CBI reported in (2013) 7 SCC 466; (3) Yashik Jindal Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.14792/2022 decided on 16.12.2022; (4) Lalit Goyal Vs. Union Of India in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.3509/2022 decided on 26.08.2022; (5) Lalit Goyal Vs. Union Of India in S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Bail Application No. 13042/2021 decided on 07.09.2021; (6) Dinesh Bhabootmal Salecha Vs. The Directorate of Revenue & Anr. in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.308/2023 decided on 13.01.2023; (7) Basudev Mittal Vs. Union of India in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.8128/2022 decided on 12.12.2022; (8) Basudev Mittal Vs. Union of India in MCRC No.3919/2022 decided on 15.07.2022; (9) Sandeep Goyal Vs. Union of India in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.1803/2020 decided on 17.04.2020; (10) Sandeep Goyal Vs. Union of India in S.B. Criminal Misc. III Bail Application No.1521/2020 decided on 05.02.2020; (11) Vinay Kant Ameta Vs. Union of India in Criminal Appeal No.60/2022 (SLP (Crl.) No.9564/2021) decided on 10.01.2022 and (12) Gaurav Kakkar VS. Directorate General of GST Intelligence in S.B. Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.17536/2022 decided on 11.01.2023.

6. I have considered the arguments advanced by learned counsel for the petitioner as well as learned Senior Standing Counsel for the respondent.

7. It is an admitted position that petitioner had evaded the tax and got the benefit of input tax credit of nearing Rs. 88.33 Crores. Hon’ble Apex Court in various pronouncement observed that economic offender should not be dealt as a general offender and in circumstances while granting bail to Vinay Kant Ameta directed him to deposit Rs.200 Crores.

8 . Considering the contentions put-forth by the counsel for the parties and taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case and without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, this court deems it just and proper to enlarge the petitioner on bail with a condition to deposit Rs.5 Crores by the petitioner before the respondent Department ‘under protest’.

9. Accordingly, the bail application under Section 439 Cr.P.C. is allowed and it is ordered that the accused-petitioner Shri Mohammed Ali Akram Khan Son Of Mohammed Iqbal Khan be enlarged on bail provided he furnishes a personal bond in the sum of Rs.50,000/- with two sureties of Rs.25,000/- each to the satisfaction of the learned trial court with the stipulation that he will appear before the trial court on all subsequent dates of hearing and as and when called upon to do so.

10. Trial court is directed to take the receipt with regard to deposition of Rs.5 Crores by the petitioner on record before attesting his bail bonds.

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