Heard Mr. A. Azad, learned counsel for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. M.P. Goswami, learned Addl. P.P. for the State and Mr. J. Roy, learned senior counsel, assisted by Mr. D. Das, learned counsel for the informant.
2. The petitioner, namely, Rohul Amin, who is apprehending arrest in connection with Boko P.S. Case No. 127/2022 under sections 120B/420/406/386/403/506 IPC, is seeking pre-arrest bail under section 438 Cr.P.C.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that if the contents of the FIR is read, it only discloses that there is monetary dispute between the parties, which is sought to be converted into a criminal prosecution of the petitioner. It is further submitted that the sole ground on which the previous pre-arrest bail petition of the petitioner, being A.B. No. 920/2022 was dismissed by order dated 03.08.2022, solely on accepting the submissions made by the learned senior counsel for the informant that the petitioner was using GSTIN 18BGFPA0282E1ZW, which belonged to M/s. Zentic Pharmaceuticals. It is submitted that in this present pre-arrest bail petition, the petitioner has produced a copy of Consent Letter dated 28.04.2022 by the Pollution Control Board in favour of M/s. NRI Group of Companies, where the name of the petitioner is reflected as proprietor. Moreover, the print-out of GSTIN search made in the web portal of the Goods and Service Tax discloses that the said GSTIN was issued to the petitioner, with effective date of registration being 24.12.2021, which was however suspended w.e.f. 19.05.2022. Thus, it was submitted that on incorrect premise, the previous pre-arrest bail application was rejected.
4. Moreover, it was submitted that in connection with this application, the informant has now projecting some other business dispute which is said to have been done by the petitioner in connection with another firm, namely, M/s. Zentic Pharmaceuticals, arising out of disputed e-sale of goods through e-selling portals. Thus, it was submitted that the allegations made against the petitioner is unconnected with the contents of the FIR in the instant case.
5. By referring to the I.A. (Crl.) 721/2022, it was submitted that this Court by order dated 26.10.2022, had granted interim bail to the petitioner. However, there was an inadvertent delay in being supplied with the certified copy of the order and when the petitioner went to the police station, the I.O. was on law and order duty and later on, when the petitioner’s wife had gone to the police station, the seven day’s time granted to the petitioner to appear before the I.O. had expired and therefore, the I.O. was disinclined to allow the petitioner to appear after the expiry of time. Hence, it was prayed that time for appearance of the petitioner before the I.O. be suitably extended.
6. The learned senior counsel for the informant has submitted that the record of A.B. No. 920/2022 would reveal that the reference to GSTIN was made in a different context and it was submitted that the M/s. NRI Group of Companies and M/s. Zentic Pharmaceuticals was the proprietorship firm of one Anjuman Kumar Sharma, who for expansion of his business in Assam, had provided the petitioner a sum of Rs.77,14,547/-, Rs.9,30,265/- and Rs.12,70,000/- to start a brick klin industry on the land of the petitioner.
However, the petitioner had committed fraud by projecting himself to be the proprietor of the firm under the name and style of M/s. NRI Group of Companies and M/s. Zentic Pharmaceuticals and obtained GSTIN in his name and had prepared fake invoices to show as if he had sold bricks to the petitioner at Delhi and a sum of Rs.1,07,17,000/- was due from Anjuman Kumar Sharma. However, it was inadvertently mentioned in the order dated 03.08.2022 in AB 920/2022 that the GSTIN 18BGFPA0282E1ZW, which was not the case of the informant. Hence, it is submitted that this is not a case of business or commercial dispute between the parties, but the petitioner had committed fraud.
7. It was submitted that the petitioner, in his pre-arrest bail application filed before the Court of Sessions, Kamrup, Amingaon, being AB 257/2022, it was stated that
(i) the petitioner was “one of the owner of the brick klin”; and
(ii) that the informant was a mere “chowkidar” of the brick klin; and
(iii) Anjuman Kumar Sharma was one of the co-owner of the said brick industry and Zentic Pharmaceuticals. However, in para-4 of the instant application, the petitioner has stated on oath that
(i) he was the proprietor of NRI Group of Companies; and Anjuman Kumar Sharma had helped him to set up the industry; and
(iii) Anjuman Kumar Sharma procured huge quantity of bricks. Thus, it is submitted that it is absurd that Anjuman Kumar Sharma, being a co-owner would purchase bricks from his own firm.
8. The learned Addl. P.P. has opposed the prayer for pre-arrest bail.
9. It would be appropriate to reproduce para-5 and 6 of the order dated 03.08.2022 in AB 920/2022, which is as follows:-
“Insofar as the petitioner no.1 is concerned, the learned Senior Counsel for the informant has referred to a copy of pre-arrest bail application of the petitioner no. 1 before the learned District and Sessions Judge, Kamrup at Amingaon, which was registered as AB 257/2022 (Annexure-6 of the objection filed by the informant) to project that in the said application, the petitioner no.1 had admitted that Zentic Pharmaceuticals was co-owned by one Mr. Anjuman Kumar Sharma. However, in the present pre-arrest bail application he has projected himself to be the owner of a brick kiln in the name and style of NRI Group of Companies. It is seen that there is a mismatch in the statement made in paragraph 7 of the bail application and bill for supply at page 50 to 275 of this application. In paragraph 7 a statement has been made to the effect that the petitioner no.1 and the NRI Group of Companies had invested equal shares to carry out business of bricks, whereas the documents at page 50 to 275 indicates that bills were raised by NRI Groups of Companies to Anjuman Kumar Sharma. Therefore, it appears from the documents appended to the pre-arrest bail application, specifically the bills for supply referred to above that the petitioner is using GSTIN No. 18BGFPA0282E1ZW, which as per the projection made by the learned Senior Counsel for the informant, belongs to Zentic Pharmaceuticals.
In view of above, the Court is of the considered view that inconsistent facts has been presented in this application and therefore, this is not a fit case to grant the privilege of pre-arrest bail to the petitioner no.1 and accordingly, the prayer for pre-arrest bail in respect of petitioner no.1, namely, Rohul Amin is rejected .”
10. It has now been clarified by the learned senior counsel for the informant that his submissions was incorrectly appreciated in the herein before referred order dated 03.08.2022.
11. The learned counsel for the petitioner is absolutely right in stating that in the FIR dated 10.03.2022, it contains no allegations that the petitioner was fraudulently selling goods by impersonating as M/s. Zentic Pharmaceuticals.
12. The documents annexed to this bail application and additional affidavit filed by the petitioner, as well as from the statement made by the learned senior counsel for the informant, it is not disputed by the informant that GSTIN 18BGFPA0282E1ZW is of the petitioner.
13. The petitioner claims that he is the proprietor of M/s. NRI Group of Industries. However, no document is produced by the petitioner to show the same. Nonetheless, the learned senior counsel for the informant has been able to demonstrate that the petitioner has been changing his stand. The said changing stand of the petitioner is more elaborately referred in para 7 above. While considering pre-arrest bail application, we would not comment whether or not the Anjuman Kumar Sharma could have purchased bricks from his own partnership firm because this is not the forum to decide such issues. But it cannot be ruled out that a proprietor of a firm cannot purchase goods from his own establishment. But if the bills are fraudulent, it can surely be investigated by the police, but it would be a matter of debate whether the police would be empowered to investigate regarding non-payment of GST for the invoices raised by the petitioner on the informant and in this regard, it could not be shown from the GST enactments that police can investigate such matters.
14. The informant has not produced any deed of partnership between Anjuman Kumar Sharma and the petitioner in respect of M/s. NRI Group of Industries. To oppose this bail application, the informant is heavily relying on the statement made in AB 257/2022 before Sessions Judge, Kamrup, Amingaon wherein he had stated that the Anjuman Kumar Sharma and the petitioner are partners. However, in the affidavit-in-opposition filed by the informant, the informant has made a statement that Anjuman Kumar Sharma and his wife Pooja Sharma are partners of Zentic Pharmaceuticals. It is not known as to whether the said Anjuman Kumar Sharma has the exclusive right to use the name of M/s. NRI Group of Companies in exclusion of all others or that use of the same firm name by the petitioner would constitute a cognizable offence. Therefore, if the allegations regarding alleged evasion of GST by the petitioner is excluded for the time being from consideration, then from the contents of the FIR, it strongly appears that there is a financial dispute between the informant and the petitioner.
15. It may be stated that in the 7 (seven) long page FIR dated 10.03.2022, there is no allegation that the petitioner is selling goods by ecommerce by impersonating as M/s. Zentic Pharmaceuticals, as projected in the affidavit-in-opposition filed by the informant. Therefore, the said point is immaterial for consideration in this bail application.
16. However, in the affidavit-in-opposition, the informant has referred to mobile call screenshots to project that on 03.11.2022, the informant had been repeatedly calling the informant and Anjuman Kumar Sharma to mount pressure to them to compromise the matter. This does amount to breach of the conditions on which interim pre-arrest bail was granted to the petitioner by interim order dated 26.10.2022. Under such circumstances, the Court does not find this to be a fit case for grant of pre-arrest bail to the petitioner. Hence, the Court is of the considered opinion that under the circumstances, the petitioner, namely, Rohul Amin is not entitled to pre-arrest bail in connection with Boko P.S. Case No. 127/2022 under sections 120B/420/406/386/403/506 IPC. Accordingly, the prayer for his bail is rejected at this stage.
17. Application is disposed of.
18. Let the case diary be returned.
19. Interim bail granted by order dated 26.10.2022 stands vacated.