Supreme Court: By way of extra ordinary appellate jurisdiction, the division bench of A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli*, JJ., dealt with special leave to appeal against the order of the Rajasthan High Court which had dismissed petitioner’s application under Section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’) seeking bail against alleged offences under Section 132(1)(a), (h), (k) and (l) read with Section 132(5) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (‘GST’). The bench enlarged the petitioner on bail subject to depositing his passport and conditions imposed by the Trial Court.
The petitioner had, allegedly, clandestinely transported raw unmanufactured tobacco brought from Gujarat by 7 trucks weighing 90,520 kgs. The said quantity of unmanufactured tobacco was used in manufacturing and supplying of chewing tobacco without payment of leviable duties and tax. The respondent further contended that during the course of investigation, in addition to the 7 trucks, 287 trucks were loaded with raw unmanufactured tobacco which were transported, as per the details obtained from the Toll or Radio Frequency Identification data of National Highway Authority of India.
Rebutting the allegation made against the petitioner, it was contended that such allegations were made only to allege cognizable and non-bailable offence against the petitioner to deny bail and take him into custody.
The Court noted that while the petitioner was in custody, the investigation was completed and the chargesheet was accordingly filed. The alleged evasion of tax by petitioner under Section 132(1)(I)(i) provided for punishment of 05 (five) years of imprisonment and fine. Considering the fact that the petitioner had undergone incarceration for more than 04 (four) months and completion of trial would take some time, thus, enlarged the petitioner on bail subject to conditions imposed by the Trial Court and diligent participation in the trial.
[Ratnambar Kaushik v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1678, decided on 05-12-2022]
*Judgment authored by: Justice Hima Kohli.
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the petitioner- Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi;
Senior Advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan;
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh;
For the respondent- Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh.