In the last few years, the country has been seeing an alarming rise in white-collar crimes, which has affected the thread of the country’s economic structure. Deciding upon a bail application submitted by the accused charge for an economic offence, Justice S. K. Panigrahi, deciding on the case of Ajaj Ahamad V. State of Odisha (CGST) [BLAPL No. 1660 of 2021] upheld that as in the present case the accused is active in establishment and operation of the non-existent business entities for availing and passing of bogus ITC thereby defrauding the state exchequer then in such a case, “While granting bail, the Court has to keep in mind, inter alia, the larger interest of the public and State.”
In the mentioned case, the accused was charged for economic offence as he was found to be the proprietor of M/s. Sony Iron and Steel Trading Co., the two companies out of ten non-existent companies that were investigated upon and it was during the scrutiny of various documents it was found that the petitioner was involved in passing of fake ITC to the non-existent firms without supply of goods and has availed ineligible ITC by using the fake invoices/bills without receipt of goods. Petitioner was found to be responsible for committing an economic offence of Approx. 5.2 Crores. Being charged with the above mentioned offence, the Petitioner filed for a bail application before the Court.
The Court observed that even though there have been many similar cases where in the Court or other Courts have granted the bail, however, in this case the Court has to rely upon the circumstances of the case along with other judgement. The Court relied upon the judgement in the case of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy v. Central Bureau of Investigation [ (2013) 7 SCC 439] where in the Supreme Court opined that; “ While granting bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support thereof, the severity of the punishment which conviction will entail, the character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, the larger interests of the public/State and other similar considerations.”
It was also observed that for an investigation to take place, sometimes it is necessary for the accused to be in presence before the Investigating Officer as in case he will be set free while the investigation is on, he might hamper the evidences and process of investigation, same was held in the case of Adri Dharan Das v. State of W.B [2 (2005) 4 SCC 303] where in the Court opined that, “It may be necessary to curtail his freedom in order to enable the investigation to proceed without hindrance….For these or other reasons, arrest may become an inevitable part of the process of investigation.”
Thus, relying upon the various judgement and looking at the nature and seriousness of the accusation, the evidences against the petitioner, the investigation process that is still due and considering huge amount of public money that has been misappropriated, the Court rejected the Bail Application of the Petitioner.