1. This is a successive bail application filed by the applicant seeking following prayers :
“54.(a) To enlarge the applicant on regular bail in connection with File No. CCST/DCST/ENF-CO/AC-1/PARESH CHAUHAN CASE/2019-20/B-42 registered with the office of Chief Commissioner of State Tax, Enforcement, State of Gujarat, Ahmedabad.
(b) Pending admission, final hearing and disposal of this application, to direct the respondent no.2 to release the applicant in connection with File No.CCST/DCST/ENF-CO/AC- 1/PARESH CHAUHAN CASE/2019-20/B-42 registered with the office of Chief Commissioner of State Tax, Enforcement, State of Gujarat, Ahmedabad.”
2. Mr. Chetan Pandya, learned advocate appearing for the applicant submitted that while rejecting the earlier bail application filed by the present applicant before this Court being Criminal Misc. Application No.6237 of 2020, in the order dated 05.05.2020 has observed that the investigation is pending and since, now the investigation has substantially progressed, the applicant may be released on bail. He has further submitted that the applicant has undergone almost 16 months of incarceration and hence, he may be released on bail. Attention is also invited of this Court to the affidavit filed by the Investigation Officer, wherein it is stated that the amount of ₹ 36.94 Crores is already recovered from the applicant and recovery proceedings are going on.
3. The applicant is seeking bail under the provision of section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The applicant has been arrested on 30.12.2019 by the Assistant Commissioner of State Tax-1, Enforcement, Ahmedabad in connection with the alleged offence punishable under section 132(1)(b)(c) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the Gujarat Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 by exercising powers under section 69 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the Gujarat Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
4. This Court has perused the order dated 05.05.2020 passed in Criminal Misc. Application No.6237 of 2020, filed by the present application seeking regular bail. The Coordinate Bench, after considering all the relevant aspects, has rejected the application of the petitioner by observing thus:
“6. In the instant case, it appears that the case would require thorough investigation with the possibility of addition of more accused to the array; inasmuch as, as many as 406 summonses have been issued and 92 beneficiary firms are under scrutiny. Complaint might have been filed against the petitioner in compliance with Section 167 of Cr.P.C, that would however not preclude the investigating agency to investigate into what could be the huge racket and under such circumstances placing the petitioner out of jail would be potential threat to the investigation; inasmuch as, the manipulation of the evidence at the hands of the petitioner cannot be ruled out. The loss of ₹ 60 Crores to the public exchequer so far cannot be considered as a small amount. It appears that it is only owing to timely detection of the crime that the loss so far is ₹ 60 Crores; it would have been much-much more in absence of detection of the crime. It is not as if the petitioner stopped at ₹ 60 Crores; in all probability he would have continued the racket in absence of its detection. Therefore, what is relevant is not the quantum, but well-designed pre-meditated plan floated by the petitioner to loot the public exchequer.”
5. The aforesaid order was further carried before the Supreme Court by the applicant by filing Special Leave to Appeal (Cri.) No.4050 of 2020. The same was dismissed as withdraw vide order dated 03.09.2020.
5.1 Thereafter, the present application is filed seeking the same prayer. This Court is of the considered opinion that there is no substantial change in circumstances after the rejection of the earlier application. The aspect of recovery of amount of ₹ 14,10,87,517/- till 17.03.2020 as mentioned in the affidavit dated 08.04.2020 was before the passing of the order dated 05.05.2020 by this Court in Criminal Misc. Application No.6237 of 2020. Thereafter, it appears that in the further affidavit dated 17.12.2020 filed by Assistant Sales Tax Commissioner, it is stated that a recovery total recovery of ₹ 36.94 crore is effected till 01.12.2020. As observed by this Court in the order dated 05.05.2020, there are 92 beneficiary firms which are under scrutiny. There is loss of ₹ 60 crores to the public exchequer and owing to timely detection such a huge racket has been unearthed. The investigation is still in progress, hence the release of the applicant at this stage will be a potential threat to the investigation.
6. Under the circumstance and in light of the aforesaid order dated 05.05.2020 passed by this Court, and in absence of any substantial change in circumstances, this Court is not inclined to grant any relief to applicant. The application deserves to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed. Rule is discharged.