Ramesh Goenka Vs. CBI (Gauhati High Court)
The present bail application u/s 439 has been filed on behalf of the accused petitioner Ramesh Goenka seeking his release from custody on bail in connection with CBI ACB case no.RC-0172018(A)/2005.
(2) Insofar as the case of the prosecution is concerned the Commissioner of Income Tax(Audit) with additional charge of Jorhat, Swetabh Suman, entered into a conspiracy with the income tax officer Pratap Das; Ramesh Goenka and Amit Goenka, both are advocates and Chartered Accountants at Guwahati; and Suresh Agarwalla, Director of M/s Win Power Infra Private Limited at Jorhat having office at Guwahati and Delhi, agreed to show undue favour to Suresh Agarwalla by way of passing favourable order in an appeal arising out of an assessment order in respect of one shell company of Suresh Agarwalla and in the process the said Income Tax Commissioner took process to obtain illegal gratification to the tune of Rs 40 lakh with the assistance of the said Ramesh Goenka and others named above. It is alleged that in the said process, Ramesh Goenka tried to negotiate the bribe amount with the Commissioner of Income Tax at Rs 40 lakh and the said Suresh Agarwalla also agreed to pay the said amount to Ramesh Goenka and the said amount was collected through one of the employees Pranjal Sarma of Suresh Agawalla and delivered to Ramesh Goenka and the said amount was recovered by the CBI from the possession of accused Ramesh Goenka.
(3) Learned senior counsel Mr AK Bhattacharyya appearing for accused Ramesh Goenka has contended that such recovery of Rs 40 lakh from the house of the accused cannot be a doubtful matter because of his status as a senior tax consultant having reputation in the society who himself is a heavy tax payer. In this context certain income tax return for the period 2015-17 has been referred (annexed with the record). Over and above his age and ailment(who is a diabetic patient) is prayed to be considered.
(4) I have considered submissions of learned counsel for petitioner.
(5) Learned Asstt. Solicitor General of India Mr SC Keyal produced the case diary along with the status report from the investigating officer who has objected to the bail prayer.
(6) I have gone through the case diary as well as the report submitted by the investigating officer.
(7) Contrary to the submissions made for and on behalf of the petitioner, material in the case diary reveals otherwise.
(8) Insofar as the evidence collected it reveals that the amount of Rs 40 lakh which was recovered from the possession of Ramesh Goenka was sent by Suresh Kr Agarwalla as a bribe towards delivery to the Commissioner of Tax with whom the matter was negotiated for passing favourable order in favour of M/s Win Power Infra Ltd. There is yet another serious reflection in the case diary that the main portion of the favourable order passed by the Commissioner of Tax on 10.4.2018 in favour of the said Win Power Infra Ltd was prepared by Ramesh Goenka, which was sent by him on his personal email. After receiving the money, when Ramesh Goenka was about to deliver it to the Commissioner of Income Tax, the money was seized by the CBI.
(9) The investigating officer has objected to granting bail on the ground that further investigation is required to ascertain the source of huge money handed over to Ramesh Goenka through Pranjal Sarma. Investigation is being carried out to ascertain the mode of transfer of the bribe to the Income Tax Commissioner and how the part of the bribe was shared with other accused and as such release of accused at this stage may hamper the investigation. The I0 further submits that it is very necessary to examine further relevant witnesses to unearth the entire chain of conspiracy hatched by the accused in arranging and giving illegal gratification to the CIT through Ramesh Goenka.
(10) Regarding the health condition of Ramesh Goenka it is submitted that he was admitted in GMCH on 22.4.2018 and discharged on 26.4.2018. Today medical report is also submitted from the jail authority which reveals no serious ailment of the accused Ramesh Goenka.
(11) Having regard to the nature of serious accusation and in view of the finding of incriminating material(discussed above) against the accused petitioner and the serious objection raised by the investigating officer and for conducting smooth and effective investigation, this court is not inclined to grant bail to the accused petitioner.
(12) It may also be noted that a few days back the trial court had also rejected his bail prayer after considering the material in the case diary.
(13) Further detention of accused petitioner is warranted in the interest of investigation. Accordingly the bail petition is rejected. Return the case diary.