The Madhya Pradesh High Court granted anticipatory bail to a person accused of GST Evasion on furnishing the bond of Rs.10 Lakhs.
The petitioner, Nitesh Wadhwani has filed the application under section 438 of the Cr.P.C. seeking anticipatory bail in crime registered under section 132(1)(a)(i) of the Goods and Services Tax Act.
The petitioner submitted that the only fault of the petitioner is that he is the landlord of the premises where his tenant, who runs a factory, allegedly evaded the tax by clandestine sale of Pan Masala.
It was further submitted that the petitioner is neither a Partner of his tenant M/s Vishnu Essence nor is concerned with it in any other way. However he has been portrayed as the only responsible person for the alleged crimes committed by his tenant, while no documents have been produced by the department to prove the same.
On the other hand the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) submitted that the petitioner is the Director of a Media Company, which publishes a daily newspaper in the name and style of “Dabang Dunia”.
Several vehicles incriminated in the clandestine removal or transportation of Pan Masala endorsed the Dabang Duniya press sticker and drivers of these vehicles were carrying Identity Cards of Dabang Dunia as provided to them by the transporter ‘Ashoo Road Lines’.
Dummy director of M/s Elora tobacco Co. Ltd Mr. Shayam Khemani also had a Press ID card of Dabang Dunia. This shows that the petitioner was well involved in the alleged tax evasion.
Apart from that, statements of the co-accused persons recorded under Section 70 of GST Act have also been referred by the learned ASG wherein the authors have disclosed that actually the petitioner is the sole Owner/Proprietor/in-charge of the entire business of M/s Vishnu Essence or Ellora Tobacco Co. Ltd or M/s. AAA Enterprises or M/s Namrata Impacts and so on.
The ASG further alleged that he is the kingpin of the entire empire of business or trade of all these firms. He had effective control over their factory operations and is the ultimate financial beneficiary in this illicit Pan Masala trade. He is the mastermind or the key accused of the alleged tax evasion, which otherwise runs in crores of rupees. Therefore, he is not entitled for bail.
The single Judge bench of Justice Virendra Singh without commenting on merits of the case granted the anticipatory bail to the petitioner and directed the petitioner to furnish a personal bond of Rs.10 Lakhs with one solvent surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of Station House Officer of the Police Station concerned.