Avinash Aradhya Vs. Commissioner of Central Tax, Bengaluru – 2019 (23) G.S.T.L. 168 (High Court – Karnataka)

Anticipatory bail for an offence punishable under Section 137 granted by subject to imposition of some stringent conditions.

Facts: In this case, the petitioners were  indulging in continuous issuance of fake invoices without actual supply of goods with an intention to enable them fraudulently avail the input tax credit. It was case of the prosecution that invoices were issued and circulated among the group companies till they reached back to the originating companies, i.e, ‘A’ groups without actual movement of goods, thereby transferring the irregular input credit to the originating companies for payment of GST and sales tax. It was further alleged that the act was an offence and it was criminal in nature.

The petitioners-accused under Section 438 of Cr. P.C to release them on anticipatory bail in the event of their arrest by the respondent for the offence punishable under Section 137 of Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

Issue: Whether anticipatory bail in the event of their arrest would be granted.

Held: The Hon’ble High Court held that by taking into consideration the gravity of the offence and punishment which is liable to be involved, I am of the considered opinion that by imposing some stringent conditions, if accused-petitioners are ordered to be released on bail, it will meet the ends of justice.

In that light, petitions are allowed and the petitioners/accused are ordered to be enlarged on anticipatory bail in the event of their arrest in O.R. No. 40/2018-19 for the offence punishable under Section 137 “Offences by companies” of GST Act, 2017 subject to the following conditions :

  1. Each of the petitioners shall execute a personal bond for a sum of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakh Only) with two sureties for the like sum to the satisfaction of the apprehending authority/authorized officer.
  2. They shall surrender before the Investigating Officer within 15 days from today.
  3. They shall not tamper with the prosecution evidence or any documents whichever is required for the purpose of investigation.
  4. They shall co-operate during the course of investigation and they shall not leave the country without prior permission of Special Court for Economical Offences.
  5. They shall not indulge in similar type of criminal activities covered under the said Act.

 In view of the disposal of the petitions, I.A. No. 1/2019 filed in both petitions for interim bail does not survive.

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