The Supreme Court has granted Bail to the petitioner accused of committing an offence under Section 132(1)(a),(h),(k) and (l) read with Section 132(5) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

The Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli observed that "in a case of the present nature, the evidence to be tendered by the respondent would essentially be documentary and electronic. The ocular evidence will be through official witnesses, due to which there can be no apprehension of tampering, intimidating or influencing."

In this case, the petitioner had approached the Court assailing the order passed by Rajasthan High Court, wherein the Bail under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was rejected.

The petitioner has been allegedly accused of committing the offence under Section 132(1)(a),(h),(k) and (l) read with Section 132(5) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh appeared on behalf of the Respondent and submitted that the petitioner had clandestinely transported raw unmanufactured tobacco brought from Gujarat by 7 trucks weighing 90,520 kgs which would have been used in the clandestine manufacture and supply of chewing tobacco without payment of leviable duties and tax. It was also submitted that in the course of investigation, apart from 7 trucks, 287 more trucks loaded with raw unmanufactured tobacco had been transported and that tax/duty to the amount of Rs. 15,57,28,345/- would have been levied and not Rs.10,30,824/- as claimed by the petitioner.

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, C.S. Vaidyanathan and Maninder Singh appeared on behalf of the Petitioner and submitted that such allegations against the petitioner were far-fetched and had been made to allege that the petitioner has committed cognizable and non-bailable offence so that the bail is not granted.

The Apex Court observed that the matter was before the Trial Court and all the alleged allegations were to be established based on evidence before the Trial Court. Therefore, any observation on merits, if made, would prejudice the case of the parties.

The Apex Court noted that the investigation is complete and chargesheet has also been filed and the petitioner has already undergone incarceration for more than four months and completion of trial would take some time.

Therefore, considering the facts and circumstances of the case Court held that bail should be granted.

Accordingly, the petitioner was allowed to be released on bail subject to the conditions imposed by the Trial Court and the Court directed the petitioner to deposit his passport.

Cause Title- Ratnambar Kaushik v. Union of India

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