The Supreme Court granted bail to the accused who underwent almost 50% of his sentence in Rs. 900 Crore GST billing scam.
The appellant has laid a lot of emphasis on the fact that the proceedings arising from evasion of GST were preceded by a search operation where the officers concerned occupied a house for more than a week with lady members there which has been adversely commented upon by the High Court and its judgment.
He contended that in the special leave petition filed by the State while issuing notice, the Court has specifically observed that without condoning the conduct of the officers notice was issued because by the judgment in question the statutory protection has been waived without hearing the officers concerned.
The appellant further contended that he has been in custody for 25 months out of a total period of 5 years for which he can be sentenced. The investigation is still stated to be pending though a complaint has been filed. He argued that the endeavor of the officers is only to teach him a lesson for having initiated proceedings which resulted in adverse orders against them.
The division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh stated that the appellant cannot be indefinitely detained in custody more so having already undergone a period of 25 months of custody when he can be sent behind bars for maximum five years. It is almost 50% of the sentence.
The court believed that the stand of the respondent was coloured by the proceedings taken out by the appellant/ family members qua the conduct of the officers which has visited them with some adverse consequences though certain proceedings are still pending qua the same.
The court granted bail to the appellant on terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the Trial Court.
Case title: Paresh Nathalal Chauhan v/s the State of Gujarat & Anr.
Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.164-165 /2022