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Case Law Details

Case Name : Rishabh Jain S/o Shri Yogesh Jain Vs State of Rajasthan (Rajasthan High Court)
Appeal Number : S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Bail Application No. 10718/2023
Date of Judgement/Order : 04/12/2023
Related Assessment Year :

Rishabh Jain S/o Shri Yogesh Jain Vs State of Rajasthan (Rajasthan High Court)

The Rajasthan High Court has granted bail to Rishabh Jain in connection with a high-profile case involving alleged GST evasion amounting to ₹1046.74 crores. This analysis delves into the court’s decision, the legal arguments presented, and the implications of the judgment in the context of financial crimes.

Legal Analysis: Rishabh Jain filed a bail application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, contending that he was wrongly implicated in the case. His defense argued that any confessional statements made were under duress and later retracted. The completion of the investigation and filing of the charge sheet were cited, along with the absence of prior criminal records for Jain. Reference was made to the Supreme Court’s decision in Ratnambar Kaushik case, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach to bail applications.

On the other hand, the State and Union of India opposed the bail application, alleging Jain’s involvement in operating a syndicate of 569 fake firms engaged in issuing fake invoices without actual supply of goods/services. The prosecution highlighted the substantial amount involved in GST evasion, totaling over ₹1046.74 crores, as grounds for denying bail.

Considering the arguments from both sides, the court acknowledged Jain’s period of incarceration since June 25, 2023, and the likelihood of a protracted trial. Drawing parallels with the Ratnambar Kaushik case, the court deemed it just and proper to grant Jain bail, without commenting on the merits of the case.

Implications: The grant of bail in a case of such magnitude raises questions about the efficacy of financial crime investigations and the challenges of securing convictions. While Jain’s release reflects concerns about prolonged pretrial detention and the presumption of innocence, it does not absolve him of accountability. The decision underscores the complexity of proving financial crimes and the importance of due process in legal proceedings.

Moving forward, the case will undergo rigorous trial proceedings, with both prosecution and defense presenting evidence and arguments. The outcome will have significant implications for GST enforcement, tax compliance, and the deterrence of financial fraud. It highlights the need for robust legal mechanisms and regulatory oversight to address sophisticated schemes aimed at defrauding the government.

Conclusion: The Rajasthan High Court’s decision to grant bail in the alleged ₹1046.74 crore GST evasion case reflects the judiciary’s commitment to upholding individual rights while ensuring fair trial procedures. As the case progresses, further insights will emerge, shaping the landscape of financial crime enforcement and accountability in taxation.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF RAJASTHAN HIGH COURT

1. This bail application has been filed by petitioner under Section 439 Cr.P.C. in connection with case No. F. No. DGGI/INT/INTL/GST/ 828/2023- Gr.E – O/o ADG-DGGI-ZUJaipur for offence(s) under Sections 132(1)(b)(c)(f)(K) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

2. It has been argued by learned Senior Counsel that petitioner has wrongly been implicated in the present case and after taking him in custody w.e.f. 25.06.2023, confessional statements were recorded under duress and force, however, petitioner retracted from his statement later on. The investigation from the petitioner has been completed and charge-sheet has been filed. It has been submitted that the maximum punishment under the alleged offence is five years imprisonment and fine; there are no antecedents against the petitioner as also considering the period of incarceration and considering the totality of facts and circumstances, petitioner be granted benefit of bail.

3. Learned Senior Counsel in support of his contention has referred the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in case of Ratnambar Kaushik Vs. Union of India [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1678] decided on 05.12.2022 and invited attention of this Court to para No.6, which is being extracted hereunder:-

“In considering the application for bail, it is noted that the petitioner was arrested on 21.07.2022 and while in custody, the investigation has been completed and the charge sheet has been filed. Even if it is taken note that the alleged evasion of tax by the petitioner is to the extent as provided under Section 132(1)(l)(i), the punishment provided is, imprisonment which may extend to 5 years and fine. The petitioner has already undergone incarceration for more than four months and completion of trial, in any event, would take some time. Needless to mention that the petitioner if released on bail, is required to adhere to the conditions to be imposed and diligently participate in the trial. Further, in a case of the present nature, the evidence to be tendered by the respondent would essentially be documentary and electronic. The ocular evidence will be through official witnesses, due to which there can be no apprehension of tampering, intimidating or influencing. Therefore, keeping all these aspects in perspective, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, we find it proper to grant the prayer made by the petitioner.”

4. Per contra, learned counsel for State and Union of India have opposed the bail application and argued that during course of investigation, petitioner along with another person Shri Rishabh Jain S/o Shri Ravi Jain, have found involved in operating a syndicate of 569 fake firms, which are not in existence and only working on papers for issuance of fake invoices without supply of goods/services. It has been found that petitioner is involved in evasion of GST amount to the tune of Rs.1046.74 Crores and therefore, petitioner may not be released on bail.

5. Having adverted to rival contention of counsel for both parties, it appears that petitioner was arrested in the present case on 25.06.2023 and investigation has been completed; there are no antecedents of petitioner and punishment for the alleged offence of evasion of tax is to the extent of five years and fine as prescribed under Section 132(1) of the CGST Act, 2017. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in case of Ratnambar Kaushik (supra), released the petitioner on bail after undergoing incarceration period of more than four months and in view of fact that conclusion of trial will take some time, in totality of facts and circumstance and considering the period of incarceration of petitioner for about six months, but without commenting on merits of the case, this Court deems it just and proper to release petitioner on bail.

6. Accordingly, the bail application is allowed and it is ordered that accused-petitioner Rishabh Jain S/o Shri Yogesh Jain shall be released on bail provided, he furnishes a personal bond in the sum of Rs.2,00,000/- with two sureties in the sum of Rs.1,00,000/- each to the satisfaction of learned trial Judge for his appearance before the court concerned on all the dates of hearing as and when called upon to do so, on the following conditions:-

(i) that petitioner shall make himself available before the trial Court, as and when required;

(ii) that petitioner shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court or any police officer, and

(iii) that petitioner shall not leave India without previous permission of the court.

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