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Nature of accusation should be considered before granting bail: Odisha High Court

“Strict action should be initiated against the persons who are habitual tax evaders, or the person who is not ready to co-operate in course of investigations, habitual defaulters in filing returns or a person likely to abscond or a person who would tamper with the evidence and influence the witness”, this remarkable stand was forwarded by Hon’ble Odisha High Court, in a single judge bench chaired by Hon’ble Justice Mr. S.K. Panigrahi, where a common judgment was advanced in the Bail Application case of Bikas @ Vikas Sarawgi V. State of Odisha, [BLAPL No. 4266 OF 2020].

The present petitioner, who is in custody, has filed the instant bail application under Section 439 of the Cr.P.C corresponding to 2(C)CC Case No.35 of 2020 for commission of offences punishable under Section 132(1)(b)(c) and (i) of OGST Act, 2017. Prior to instant application, the petitioner also approached the ASJ-cum-Special Judge (CBI-I), Bhubaneswar vide Bail Application No. 631 of 2020 arising out of 2(C) CC Case No. 35 of 2020 which was rejected on 11.06.2020.

As per the underlying complaint and the prosecution report, a large number of fraudulent business transactions were made using several fictitious firms including M/s Siddhi Binayak Steel, M/s Varmora Steel & Cement, M/s Pradhan Iron & Steel, M/s Blenders Iron & Steel, M/s Dhanalaxmi Iron, M/s Ganapati Enterprises, M/s Utsav Enterprises, M/s Shree Shyam Enterprises, M/s Sahoo Steel Traders, M/s Saha Enterprises, M/s Sonam Enterprises and M/s Sahoo Traders. The above persons, individually by Sri Vikas Sarawgi, the petitioner herein and in collusion with Sri Ankit Agrawal and Sri Pramod Kumar Sahoo, are stated to have created several dummy and nonexistent entities to avail bogus Input Tax Credit (ITC), for the purpose of defrauding the revenue.

After examining all the submissions, arguments and evidences forwarded by the councils, the Hon’ble HC observed that, “In the instant case the petitioner was in judicial custody and he was held for the offence u/s.132(1)(b) of CGST Act and had wrongly availed the Input Tax Credit. The applicant was ordered to release on bail on executing a personal bond of Rs. 10,000/- with one surety of like amount. The court took into consideration the law laid down by Hon’ble apex Court in case of Sanjay Chandra V. Central Bureau of Investigation [(2012) 1 SCC 40] and released the applicant on bail on executing a personal bond of Rs. 10,000/- with one surety of like amount.”

The bench further added that, “It is also clarified that the discussions hereinabove, are only limited to the purpose of the instant application and that the assessment of the tax liability of the petitioner and his firm shall be carried out strictly in accordance with the applicable provisions of law, uninfluenced by the observations as aforesaid. It is further stipulated that in such matters the adjudicating authority shall do well to expeditiously complete the assessment process.”

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