Bail application rejected by High Court of Gujarat for availing fake ITC of ₹ 60 crores on the grounds that loss of ₹ 60 Crores is not a small amount and further the petitioner would not have stopped at ₹ 60 crores, had the crime not been detected by the authority timely. In all probability he would have continued the racket in the absence of its timely detection.
The application is filed seeking bail by Sh. Paresh Nathalal Chahaun under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in respect of the offence punishable under Section 132(1)(b)(c) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
The principal allegation against the petitioner is having obtained the tax credit to an extent of ₹ 60 Crores through fictitious firms allegedly established by him in connivance with other persons. The maximum punishment for the offence is five years imprisonment.
"The quantum of the sentence, recording of the statements of as many as 35 beneficiaries of the transactions, recovery of ₹ 14 Crores from them, the quantum of the amount involved, non-arrest of the persons allegedly conniving with the petitioner in the commission of offence and heart ailment of the petitioner i.e. insertion of two stents in his heart" - are pressed into service as grounds for for seeking bail by the learned counsel for petitioner.
However the Hon'ble High Court observed that:
- The case would require thorough investigation with the possibility of addition of more accused to the array; inasmuch as, as many as 406 summonses have been issued and 92 beneficiary firms are under scrutiny.
- The manipulation of the evidence at the hands of the petitioner cannot be ruled out.
- The loss of ₹ 60 Crores to the public exchequer so far cannot be considered as a small amount. It appears that it is only owing to timely detection of the crime that the loss so far is ₹ 60 Crores; it would have been much-much more in absence of detection of the crime. It is not as if the petitioner stopped at ₹ 60 Crores; in all probability he would have continued the racket in absence of its detection.
- Therefore, what is relevant is not the quantum, but well-designed pre-meditated plan floated by the petitioner to loot the public exchequer.
- It may be true that as on date the person conniving with the petitioner might not have been arraigned as accused or arrested; but then it would be pre-mature to make any further comment on the said aspect as investigation is under way and it is at crucial stage.
- Last but not the least; there is nothing to indicate the serious ill-health of the petitioner; needless however to say that in case of necessity, necessary medical help would be provided to the petitioner.
- For the foregoing reasons, the application fails and is dismissed. Rule is discharged.
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