The assessee was a registered dealer dealing in both ferrous and non-ferrous scrap. The Competent Authority had received information from Intelligence authorities that assessee was engaged in availing input tax credit on the invoices received from the persons without actual supply of goods. Accordingly, the authority issued summon to the assessee to appear before the Authorised Officer. The assessee filed petition under section 438 of CrPC before the High Court of Karnataka seeking grant of anticipatory bail.  

The assessee submitted that he was ready to appear before the authority and co-operate with the investigation. However, the authority had already completed their investigation and he apprehended his arrest for an offence punishable under GST. The department raised an objection that anticipatory bail sought by assesee is not maintainable. Assessee could only file a writ petition for seeking relief under GST Act and, hence, instant petition for grant of anticipatory bail under CrPC was not maintainable.     

The Honourable High Court observed that where an assessee has reasons to believe that he may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence under GST Act, he could seek anticipatory bail by filing a petition under section 438 of CrPC. Therefore, the petition under section 438 of the Cr. P.C. is maintainable for the offences committed under the CGST Act and there was no statutory bar in the GST Act for invoking or exercising power under section 438 of the Cr. P.C. for the offence committed under the provisions of the CGST Act.         

The Honourable High Court allowed the petition. The assessee was ordered to be enlarged on bail in the event of his arrest.


-        Hanumanthappa Pathrera Lakshmana v. State (Karnataka)