Supreme Court: In an appeal arises out of judgment and order dated passed by Uttaranchal High Court rejecting the anticipatory bail of the appellant/accused in connection with summons issued by Deputy Commissioner State (GST) under Section 70 of the Uttarakhand Goods and Services Tax/Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (‘GST Act’), the division bench of Krishna Murari and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, JJ. granted anticipatory bail to the accused without imposing any condition as suggested by Additional Solicitor General and set aside the judgment and order dated passed by Uttarakhand High Court.

The accused submitted that since Sections 132 of the GST Act prescribes punishment for a term which may be extend to one year and the entire case is based on documentary evidence and other electronic evidence which are available on record, thus the appellant is not required for any custodial interrogation.

Additional Solicitor General appearing for respondent vehemently opposed prayer for grant of anticipatory bail and said to protect the interest of revenue, the accused may be put to terms by directing him to deposit at least half of the revenue loss of Rs. 14.68 crores to the state exchequer, by providing fake invoices for multiple forms which has been unearthed during investigation.

The Court took note of Subhash Chouhan v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 110, wherein the Court set aside the order passed by the High Court imposing a condition of deposit while granting bail to the accused therein. Further, the Court noted that in the said case, the Additional Solicitor General appearing for the State had fairly stated that such a condition cannot be imposed while granting bail. The same view has been reaffirmed by the Court in Anatbhai Ashokbhai Shah v. State of Gujrat, Criminal Appeal No. 523/2023.

The Court said that as facts of the present case being identical to the facts of the aforesaid two Criminal appeals, there is no reason to deviate from the view taken in the aforesaid two cases.

The Court opined that that accused is entitled to be granted anticipatory bail without imposing any condition as suggested by Additional Solicitor General. Thus, it set aside the judgment and order dated passed by Uttarakhand High Court.

[Rajesh Kumar Dudani v State of Uttarakhand,2023 SCC OnLine SC 209, decided on 27-02-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner(s): Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave, Advocate Neeraj Chaudhari, Advocate-On-Record Mohit D. Ram, Advocate Monisha Handa, Advocate Rajul Shrivastav, Advocate Anubhav Sharma;

For Respondent(s): Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, Advocate-On-Record Atul Sharma, Advocate Rachna Gandhi.

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