On Tuesday, the government has moved the Supreme Court seeking powers to arrest individuals for alleged Goods and Services Tax (GST) fraud before filing a first information report (FIR).
In its plea, the government said the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act clearly provides for the said offences to be cognisable. Section 69 very clearly empowers the commissioner to arrest if there are "reasons to believe" that offences under the act have been committed, the government argued, adding that there is no need for registration of FIR before investigating or even arresting the accused.
Rohan Shah, tax expert and lawyer said Supreme Court has always come out in favour of the regulator and it may come down quite strongly, "Section 69 has the power to get arrested even though you may not have put in the FIR."
V Lakshmikumaran, managing partner of Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan said, "Fake invoices, taking credit on unauthorised documents and collection of taxes but not paying to the government, all those things, etc. are definitely cognisable offences. There is no need to file and an FIR as the power of the commissioner to arrest is much very there."