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Saturday, September 7, 2013

the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in Criminal Petition No. 12791 of 2011 by way of which the High Court has quashed the charge sheet in C.C. No. 555 of 2011 in respect of the offence under Section 468 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as ‘IPC’). However, it has not quashed the charge sheet in respect of offences punishable under Sections 471, 120-B and 201 IPC. Hence, these cross appeals by both parties i.e. the accused and the State of Andhra Pradesh.= whether such an order attained finality and in case the evidence is adduced before the court concerned, whether the trial court can still hold that the applicant is required to be tried for the offence under Section 468 I.P.C. and further whether the trial would be competent on the said charge in exercise of its power under Section 216 Cr.P.C.?= In view of the above, the appeals are disposed of directing the CBI to investigate the matter against Shri V. Dinesh Reddy – respondent no. 2 on the allegations of acquiring the disproportionate assets. However, this should not be considered as expressing any opinion upon the merits of the case. The Chief Secretary to the Government of Andhra Pradesh is directed to make the copies of the said sale deeds available to the CBI for investigation. 34. Case of Umesh Kumar – appellant would proceed before the Trial Court as explained hereinabove. A copy of the judgment and order be sent to the Director, CBI, forthwith. The CBI shall submit the Status Report to this Court within four months.


REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1305 of 2013


      Umesh Kumar                                        …Appellant


                                   Versus


      State of Andhra Pradesh
      …Respondent


                                    With


                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1304  of 2013








                               J U D G M E N T


      Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.


      1.    Both these appeals have  been  preferred  against  the  impugned
      judgment and order dated 11.4.2012 passed by
the High Court of  Andhra
      Pradesh at Hyderabad in Criminal Petition No. 12791 of 2011 by way  of
      which the High Court has quashed the charge sheet in C.C. No.  555  of
      2011 in respect of the offence under Section 468 of Indian Penal Code,
      1860 (hereinafter referred to as ‘IPC’). 
However, it has  not  quashed
      the charge sheet in respect of offences punishable under Sections 471,
      120-B and 201 IPC. Hence, these cross appeals by both parties i.e. the
      accused and the State of Andhra Pradesh.


      2.    Facts and circumstances giving rise to these appeals are that:
      A.    A letter dated 22.4.2011 was received by the Secretary, Ministry
      of Home Affairs, Union of India, purported to have been written by one
      Shri M.A. Khan (Member of Parliament) enclosing  a  representation  of
      All India  Banjara  Seva  Samithi  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the
      ‘Samithi’) asking for an impartial  enquiry  against  Shri  V.  Dinesh
      Reddy, the then DG (Vigilance and Enforcement) Department – respondent
      no.2 alleging that he had amassed disproportionate assets in the  name
      of his wife and her power of  attorney  holders.  A  large  number  of
      documents were annexed in support of the allegations in the complaint.
      The Joint Secretary, Ministry  of  Home  Affairs  forwarded  the  said
      complaint to the Chief  Secretary,  Govt.  of  A.P.  on  5.5.2011  for
      enquiry into the matter. The said letter was  received  by  the  Chief
      Secretary, Govt. of A.P. on 23.5.2011.  On  the  same  day,  a  letter
      purporting to have been sent by Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., was received  by
      Govt. of A.P. through Shri V. Dinesh Reddy – respondent no.2,  wherein
      it had been alleged that the letter sent by the Central Government  to
      the Chief Secretary, A.P. had not been authored  by  Shri  M.A.  Khan,
      M.P.
      B.    When the Chief Secretary, A.P. was examining the matter, Shri V.
      Dinesh Reddy, - respondent No.2, the then DG (V & E) wrote a letter to
      the State Government annexing a copy of the letter of Shri M.A.  Khan,
      M.P., dated 23.5.2011 denying the authorship of that letter and ask  a
      junior police officer to give his report about the genuineness of  the
      Samithi.  Upon being informed that it was fictitious, respondent  no.2
      asked for a detailed enquiry to be  conducted  to  ascertain  who  had
      forged the said letter and signature of Shri M.A. Khan, M.P.,  on  the
      complaint. Meanwhile, Shri V. Dinesh  Reddy  -  respondent  no.2,  was
      appointed as Director General of Police, A.P. on 30.6.2011.
      C.     The  State  Government  asked  the  Additional  D.G.P.,   Crime
      Investigation Department, namely Shri S.V. Ramana  Murthi  to  enquire
      and submit a report to the Government in respect  of  fabricating  the
      letter and forging the signature of Shri  M.A.  Khan,  M.P.  The  said
      officer Shri Ramana Murthi did not conduct any enquiry himself, rather
      he entrusted the same to one Shri M.  Malla  Reddy,  Deputy  SP,  CID.
      After conducting the enquiry, Shri Malla Reddy submitted  the  enquiry
      report to Addl.D.G.P., CID on 22.8.2011, pointing out that one Shri T.
      Sunil Reddy obtained certified copy of the documents from  the  office
      of the Sub-Registrar on the instructions of some senior  officer.  The
      said certified copies were the same as the ones that had been  annexed
      alongwith the complaint submitted in the name of the Samithi.
      D.     On  the  same  day,  i.e.  22.8.2011,   Shri   Ramana   Murthi,
      Addl.D.G.P., CID submitted the said report to Shri  V.  Dinesh  Reddy,
      respondent no.2 seeking directions and further requesting him that the
      report be forwarded to the State Government.
      E.    On 24.8.2011,  Shri  Dinesh  Reddy  -  respondent  no.2  himself
      directed the registration of the First Information  Report  (in  short
      ‘FIR’)  and  that  an  investigation  be  conducted  by  CID.   As   a
      consequence, the FIR was registered  on  25.8.2011  and  one  Shri  J.
      Ranjan Ratan Kumar,  Dy.  S.P.  was  appointed  as  the  Investigating
      Officer.
      F.    During the course of investigation,  Shri  T.  Sunil  Reddy  was
      arrested on 26.8.2011. His statement was recorded on  27.8.2011  under
      Section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter  referred
      to as ‘Cr.P.C.’) wherein Umesh Kumar, appellant was not named.
      G.    The report submitted by Shri Malla Reddy was forwarded  by  Shri
      V.  Dinesh  Reddy  -  respondent  no.2  to  the  State  Government  on
      27.8.2011. Shri T. Sunil Reddy was remanded  to  judicial  custody  on
      27.8.2011. It was during that judicial custody on  3.9.2011  that  his
      statement was recorded a second time under Section 161 Cr.P.C. wherein
      he named  Umesh  Kumar,  appellant.  On  being  enlarged  on  bail  on
      5.9.2011, Shri T. Sunil Reddy made an application  on  7.9.2011  under
      Section 306 Cr.P.C. to become an approver.
      H.    Umesh Kumar, appellant, asked the  Govt.  of  A.P.  to  hold  an
      investigation on the basis of the certified copy  of  the  sale  deeds
      against  respondent  no.2.  In  the  meanwhile,  on   26.9.2011,   the
      Investigating Officer filed a statement in the court that  unless  the
      said Shri T. Sunil  Reddy  was  granted  pardon,  there  would  be  no
      evidence against Umesh  Kumar.   The  trial  court  vide  order  dated
      10.10.2011 accepted the application of Shri T. Sunil Reddy and granted
      him pardon and made him an approver. However,  the  said  order  dated
      10.10.2011 was quashed by the High Court vide judgment and order dated
      1.4.2012 in Writ Petition No. 31927 of  2011  filed  by  Umesh  Kumar,
      appellant.
      I.     After  completing  the  investigation,  a  charge  sheet  dated
      14.11.2011 was  filed  naming  Umesh  Kumar,  appellant  showing  that
      offences punishable under Sections 468, 471, 120-B  and  201  IPC  had
      been committed.
      J.    Aggrieved, Umesh Kumar approached the High Court  under  Section
      482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the said  charge  sheet.  However,  the  High
      Court vide impugned judgment and order  dated  11.4.2012  quashed  the
      charge sheet only in part as referred to hereinabove.
            Hence, these cross appeals.


      3.    The matter was heard at length and after considering the gravity
      of  the  allegations  against  respondent   no.2   and   his   alleged
      involvement, this court issued  notice  to  him  suo  motu  and  after
      hearing his counsel he was impleaded as a respondent.


      4.    Shri Rakesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel appearing for  Umesh
      Kumar, appellant has submitted that the purported  complaint  sent  by
      Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., to the Central Government was duly supported  by
      a large number of documents showing that  respondent no.2 had  amassed
      wealth which was disproportionate to his known sources of income.  His
      wife had purchased various benami properties.  The certified copies of
      the said sale deeds are admissible in evidence in court. Even  if  the
      allegations against Umesh Kumar, appellant are  correct,  there  could
      have been a fair enquiry on the said  allegations  against  respondent
      no.2. However, the State of A.P. discriminated against  the  appellant
      and has taken no action whatsoever till today to examine  whether  the
      said respondent has acquired disproportionate assets.
            When the matter was referred by  the  State  Government  to  the
      Addl. D.G.P. directly without informing respondent  no.2  to  hold  an
      enquiry to find out whether the signature of Shri M.A. Khan, M.P.  was
      genuine and about the existence of the Samithi, in such  a  situation,
      respondent no.2 had no business to interfere with the matter and  pass
      any order. The enquiry had been entrusted to the Addl. D.G.P. However,
      the said Addl. D.G.P. further entrusted the same to  the  Deputy  S.P.
      who arrested one Shri T. Sunil Reddy, made him an approver and got his
      statement recorded naming Umesh Kumar.  Before the report submitted by
      Shri Malla Reddy could reach the  State  Government,  respondent  no.2
      directed that an FIR be lodged  without waiting for the  direction  of
      the State Government.  Since by that time, respondent  no.2  had  been
      appointed as D.G.P., A.P., unofficially, he had been in  contact  with
      Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., and created a situation where the enquiry  could
      be directed only against Umesh Kumar, appellant.
           In spite of  the  fact  that  this  court  passed  an  order  on
      24.7.2013 directing the Chief Secretary, A.P. to disclose whether  any
      enquiry had ever been made  against  the  said  respondent  no.2  with
      respect to disproportionate assets, the Chief Secretary, A.P. had  not
      submitted any clear cut reply to this court.  The Chief Secretary gave
      an evasive reply without disclosing  any  fact  in  this  regard.  The
      evidence collected illegally is admissible in law.  Thus, the Govt. of
      A.P. should have conducted inquiry against respondent  No.  2  on  the
      basis of the sale deeds annexed  alongwith  the  complaint.  There  is
      collusion  between  the   State   Government   and   respondent   no.2
      discriminating against the appellant.  The High Court  ought  to  have
      quashed the whole charge  sheet  being  a  product  of  malafides  and
      illegal activities of the State and respondent no.2. Thus, the  appeal
      filed by Umesh Kumar deserves to be allowed and appeal  filed  by  the
      State is liable to be dismissed.


      5.    Shri R. Venkataramani, learned senior counsel appearing for  the
      State has submitted that Umesh Kumar hatched a conspiracy and obtained
      the certified copies of the sale deeds  which  were  in  the  name  of
      different persons and filed a complaint in the fictitious name forging
      the signature of Shri M.A. Khan, M.P. Such a fact had  been  disclosed
      by his accomplice Shri T. Sunil Reddy  and  other  persons  like  Shri
      Lokesh Kumar etc.  Respondent  no.2  being  the  head  of  the  police
      department has rightly issued  the  direction  to  lodge  an  FIR  and
      investigate the matter. The High Court committed an error entertaining
      his petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. without any ground. As  it  was
      at the pre-emptive stage the matter could have been  examined  by  the
      competent court; issues raised by Umesh Kumar could have been examined
      at the time of framing of the charges; and  he  could  have  filed  an
      application for discharge. As charges can  be  altered  at  any  stage
      during the trial, the High Court could not  have  quashed  the  charge
      sheet in respect of only Section 468 IPC.  Thus, the appeal  filed  by
      Umesh Kumar is liable to the dismissed and the  appeal  filed  by  the
      State deserves to be allowed.


      6.    Shri U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel appearing for respondent
      no.2 has submitted that by filing a complaint in the  fictitious  name
      and forging the signature of Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., the  reputation  of
      respondent no.2 was put at stake. Admittedly, the complaint was  in  a
      fictitious  name  and  with  a  forged  signature.  A  case  had  been
      registered in respect of the same with Delhi Police, however, it could
      not proceed further. The office of the CID was  chosen  by  the  Chief
      Secretary and  an  enquiry  was  entrusted  to  the  said  department.
      Therefore, there could be no malice or malafides so far as  respondent
      no.2 is concerned. More so, the name of Umesh  Kumar,  appellant,  was
      not disclosed till the respondent no.2 was  appointed  as  D.G.P.  His
      name could be unearthed at a subsequent stage.  Shri M.A.  Khan,  M.P.
      contacted the said respondent and asked for a preliminary enquiry. The
      said respondent forwarded the said report. Therefore, there  could  be
      no malice against him whatsoever. In view of the above, the appeal  of
      Umesh Kumar, appellant is liable to be dismissed.


      7.    We have heard the rival submissions made by learned counsel  for
      the parties and perused the record.


      8.    The facts  are  not  in  dispute.  The  letter  dated  22.4.2011
      purported to have been written by Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., suggests  that
      various properties had been purchased by respondent no.2 as benami and
      the copies of the sale deeds etc.  filed  alongwith  the  said  letter
      fortify the same. The Government of India wrote a letter to the  Chief
      Secretary, Govt. of A.P. on 5.5.2011 to conduct an enquiry in  respect
      of alleged disproportionate assets made  by  the  respondent  no.2  by
      purchase of huge lands either by himself or in the name of his wife or
      through benamis.  Shri M.A. Khan, M.P.  vide  letter  dated  23.5.2011
      pointed out to the Central Government  that  he  had  not  signed  the
      complaint and his signature had been forged.  Umesh  Kumar,  appellant
      had asked the State Government to conduct an enquiry in respect of the
      disproportionate assets of the respondent no.2.
           The memo dated 2.8.2011 issued by the  Govt.  of  A.P.  revealed
      that respondent no.2 had conducted an enquiry in  the  matter  of  the
      letter purported to have been sent by Sh. M.A. Khan, M.P.  He  reached
      the conclusion that the complaint  had  been  filed  with  the  forged
      signature of Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., and made a  request  to  the  State
      Government to order a CID probe into the matter of  forgery,  criminal
      conspiracy, and cheating as no such Samithi was in existence  and  the
      letter was bogus. It was in view thereof, the Government directed  the
      enquiry on the following issues:
      (i)   Who forged the letter of Member of Parliament?
      (ii)  Who obtained all the documents running into  hundreds  of  pages
      from the concerned Sub-Registrar’s office?
           The Memo further revealed that Addl. D.G.P., Crime Investigation
      Department would conduct the enquiry into the above issues and  submit
      a report to the Government at an early date. The copy of the same  was
      sent to respondent no.2 and to the Central Government in  addition  to
      the Addl. D.G.P.


      9.    Admittedly, no attempt has ever been made by any person to  hold
      the enquiry relating to the genuineness  of  the  allegations  in  the
      complaint purported to have been signed by Shri M.A.  Khan,  M.P.  The
      letter dated 24.8.2011 makes it clear that  before  the  report  could
      reach the Government, respondent no.2 directed that an FIR be  lodged,
      enquiry conducted and the report of  the  same  be  submitted  to  his
      office.  The documents revealed that the statement  made  by  Shri  T.
      Sunil Reddy after his arrest did not reveal the name of  Umesh  Kumar.
      However, when he was in police custody and his statement was  recorded
      a second time he named the appellant.  It is also evident that he  was
      made an approver with the help of the public prosecutor and  later  on
      the said order of the trial court was set aside by the High  Court  at
      the behest of Umesh Kumar.
      10.   The aforesaid facts clearly reveal the following things:
      (I)   Even if the said complaint was  in  a  fictitious  name  with  a
      forged  signature,  the  material  annexed  with  the  said  complaint
      revealed that various properties had been purchased by the  respondent
      No.2, in his name or in the name of his wife or her General  Power  of
      Attorney holders.
      (II)  The Central Government had asked the State Government to conduct
      an inquiry of the allegations in the said complaint  which  the  State
      Government did not ensure compliance of.
      (III) In spite of  our  order  dated  24.7.2013  directing  the  Chief
      Secretary to file his personal affidavit as to whether any attempt had
      ever been made to find out the truth  in  the  said  allegations,  the
      Chief Secretary filed a defective affidavit which does not reflect any
      light on the issue whatsoever.
      (IV)  When the enquiry was entrusted by the State Government  directly
      to a particular police officer and the officer submitted  the  report,
      but before reaching the Government, respondent no.2 directed  that  an
      FIR be lodged against Umesh Kumar, appellant and an  investigation  be
      conducted. The report was sent  to  the  State  Government  subsequent
      thereto, and even on that report the State Government had never  taken
      any decision whatsoever, and in the meanwhile  the  charge  sheet  was
      filed.
      (V)   The charge sheet was filed under various provisions of  the  IPC
      and some of them are exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions  and
      not by the magistrate.  There are no committal proceedings till now in
      the case. Therefore, the stage of framing the charges  or  considering
      an application for discharge has not yet arrived.
      (VI)  Shri T. Sunil Reddy had not disclosed the name of  Umesh  Kumar,
      appellant in his first statement. However, subsequently when he was in
      police custody and  his  statement  was  recorded  a  second  time  he
      revealed his name. He was also granted pardon and made an approver  by
      the order of the trial court and the said order has been set aside  by
      the  High  Court  at  the  behest  of  Umesh  Kumar  as  referred   to
      hereinabove.
      (VII) Various other cases regarding  the  enquiry  against  respondent
      no.2 by the CBI or an independent agency, are reported to  be  pending
      before the High Court, and it is pointed out that the  learned  Single
      Judge has allowed the said writ petition, but the Division  Bench  had
      stayed the operation of the said order at  the  behest  of  respondent
      No.2. The learned Additional Advocate General at the direction of  the
      High Court had placed a large number of sale deeds in respect of  land
      purported to have been purchased by respondent No.2’s  wife   and  her
      sister Smt. S. Nalini between 1998 and 2005, either in her name or her
      relatives or General Power of Attorney holders.
      (VIII)        The High Court partly quashed the charge sheet observing
      that the offence under Section 468 IPC is not made out.


      Case against Umesh Kumar – appellant :
      11.   Allegations against any person if found  to  be  false  or  made
      forging some one else signature may affect his reputation.  Reputation
      is a sort of right to enjoy the good opinion of others  and  it  is  a
      personal right and an enquiry to  reputation  is  a  personal  injury.
      Thus, scandal and defamation are injurious to  reputation.  Reputation
      has been defined in dictionary as “to have a good  name;  the  credit,
      honor, or character which is derived from a favourable public  opinion
      or esteem and character by report”. Personal rights of a  human  being
      include the right of reputation. A good reputation is  an  element  of
      personal security and is protected by the  Constitution  equally  with
      the right to the enjoyment of life, liberty and property.   Therefore,
      it has been held to be a necessary element in regard to right to  life
      of a citizen under  Article  21  of  the  Constitution.  International
      Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 recognises  the  right  to
      have opinions and the right of freedom of expression under Article  19
      is subject to the right of reputation of others.  Reputation  is  “not
      only a salt of life but the purest  treasure  and  the  most  precious
      perfume of life.” (Vide:  Smt.  Kiran  Bedi  &  Jinder  Singh  v.  The
      Committee of Inquiry & Anr., AIR 1989 SC 714; Board of Trustees of the
      Port of Bombay v. Dilipkumar Raghavendranath Nadkarni & Ors., AIR 1983
      SC 109; Nilgiris Bar Association v. TK Mahalingam & Anr., AIR 1998  SC
      398; Dr. Mehmood Nayyar Azam v. State of Chattisgarh & Ors., AIR  2012
      SC 2573; Vishwanath Sitaram Agrawal v. Sau Sarla  Vishwanath  Agrawal,
      AIR 2012 SC 586; and Kishore Samrite v. State of U.P. & Ors., (2013) 2
      SCC 398).


      12.   In view thereof, if any person has forged in a letter under  the
      name of the Samithi and forged the signature of Shri M.A. Khan,  M.P.,
      the matter being of grave nature requires investigation and,  in  view
      of above, we cannot find  fault  with  the  action  initiated  against
      Umesh Kumar, appellant. Once criminal law is put in motion  and  after
      investigation the charge sheet is filed, it requires scrutiny  in  the
      court of law.  However, before the  charges  could  be  framed,  Umesh
      Kumar, appellant, approached the High Court under Section 482  Cr.P.C.
      for quashing of the charge sheet.  The scope of Section 482 Cr.P.C. is
      well defined and inherent powers could be exercised by the High  Court
      to give effect to an order under the Cr.P.C.; to prevent abuse of  the
      process of court; and to otherwise secure the ends  of  justice.  This
      extraordinary power is to be exercised ex debito  justitiae.  However,
      in exercise of such powers, it is not permissible for the  High  Court
      to appreciate the evidence as it can only evaluate material  documents
      on record to the extent of its  prima  facie  satisfaction  about  the
      existence of sufficient ground for proceedings against the accused and
      the court cannot look into materials, the acceptability  of  which  is
      essentially a matter for trial.   Any  document  filed  alongwith  the
      petition labelled as evidence without being tested and proved,  cannot
      be examined.  Law does not prohibit entertaining  the  petition  under
      Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the  charge  sheet  even  before  the
      charges are framed or before the application of discharge is filed  or
      even  during  its  pendency  of  such  application  before  the  court
      concerned. The High Court cannot reject the application merely on  the
      ground that the accused can argue legal and factual issues at the time
      of the framing of the charge. However, the inherent power of the court
      should not be exercised to stifle the legitimate prosecution  but  can
      be exercised to save the accused to undergo the agony  of  a  criminal
      trial.
      (Vide: Pepsi Food Ltd. & Anr. v. Special Judicial Magistrate  &  Ors.,
      AIR 1998 SC 128; Ashok Chaturvedi & Ors. v. Shitulh Chanchani  &  Anr.
      AIR 1998 SC 2796;  G. Sagar Suri & Anr. v. State of U.P. &  Ors.,  AIR
      2000 SC  754;  and  Padal  Venkata  Rama  Reddy  @  Ramu  v.   Kovvuri
      Satyanarayana Reddy & Ors., (2011) 12 SCC 437)
      13.   In Rajiv Thapar v Madan Lal Kapoor, 2013 (3) SCC 330, this Court
      while dealing with the issue held as follows:
           “ Based on the factors canvassed in the foregoing paragraphs, we
           would delineate the following steps to determine the veracity of
           a prayer for quashing, raised by  an  accused  by  invoking  the
           power vested in the High Court under Section 482 of the Code  of
           Criminal Procedure:
           (i) Step one, whether the material relied upon by the accused is
           sound, reasonable, and indubitable, i.e.,  the  material  is  of
           sterling and impeccable quality?
           (ii) Step two, whether the material relied upon by the  accused,
           would rule out the assertions contained in the charges  levelled
           against the accused, i.e., the material is sufficient to  reject
           and overrule the factual assertions contained in the  complaint,
           i.e., the material is  such,  as  would  persuade  a  reasonable
           person  to  dismiss  and  condemn  the  factual  basis  of   the
           accusations as false.
           (iii) Step three,  whether  the  material  relied  upon  by  the
           accused, has not been refuted  by  the  prosecution/complainant;
           and/or the material is  such,  that  it  cannot  be  justifiably
           refuted by the prosecution/complainant?
           (iv) Step four, whether proceeding with the trial  would  result
           in an abuse of process of the court, and  would  not  serve  the
           ends of justice?”




      14.   In State of Bihar v. P.P. Sharma & Anr., AIR 1991 SC 1260,  this
      Court dealt with an issue of whether an application under Section  482
      Cr.P.C. for quashing the charge sheet  should  be  entertained  before
      cognizance is taken by a criminal court and held as under:-

           “Quashing the charge-sheet even before cognizance is taken by  a
           criminal Court amounts to killing a still born child.  Till  the
           criminal Court takes cognizance  of  the  offence  there  is  no
           criminal proceedings pending. I am not allowing the  appeals  on
           the ground alternative remedies provided by the Code as  a  bar.
           It may be relevant in an  appropriate  case.  My  view  is  that
           entertaining  the  writ  petitions  against   charge-sheet   and
           considering the matter on merit on  the  guise  of  prima  facie
           evidence to stand on accused for trial amounts to pre-trial of a
           criminal  trial….  It  is  not  to   suggest   that   under   no
           circumstances a  writ  petition  should  be  entertained…..  The
           charge-sheet and the evidence placed in support thereof form the
           base to take or refuse  to  take  cognizance  by  the  competent
           Court. It is not the case that no offence has been made  out  in
           the   chargesheets   and   the   First   Information    Report.”





           (Emphasis added)


      15.   The issue of malafides looses its significance  if  there  is  a
      substance in the allegation made in complaint moved with malice.


            In Sheo Nandan Paswan v. State of Bihar & Ors., AIR 1987 SC 877,
      this Court held as under:
           “It is a well-established proposition of  law  that  a  criminal
           prosecution, if otherwise justifiable and  based  upon  adequate
           evidence does not become vitiated on account of  mala  fides  or
           political vendetta of the first informant or complainant.”




      16.   In Parkash Singh Badal v. State of Punjab & Ors.,  AIR  2007  SC
      1274, this Court held as under:
           “The ultimate test, therefore, is whether the  allegations  have
           any substance.  An investigation should not be shut out  at  the
           threshold  because  a  political  opponent  or  a  person   with
           political difference  raises  an  allegation  of  commission  of
           offence.  Therefore, the plea of mala fides as raised cannot  be
           maintained.”


      17.   In State of A.P. v. Goloconda Linga Swamy & Anr.,  AIR  2004  SC
      3967, this Court held as under:
           “It is the  material  collected  during  the  investigation  and
           evidence led in court which decides  the  fate  of  the  accused
           person.  The allegations of malafides against the informant  are
           of no consequence and cannot  by themselves  be  the  basis  for
           quashing the proceeding.”


      (See also: K. Karunakaran v. State of Kerala, (2007) 1 SCC 59).


      18.   Thus, in view of the above, it  becomes  evident  that  in  case
      there is some substance in the  allegations  and  material  exists  to
      substantiate  the complicity of the  applicant,  the  case  is  to  be
      examined in its full conspectus and  the  proceedings  should  not  be
      quashed only on the ground that the same had been initiated with  mala
      fides to wreak vengeance or to achieve an ulterior goal.


      19.   Scheme for inquiry/trial provided under  the  Cr.P.C.  is  quite
      clear.
After investigation, report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. is  to
      be  submitted  before  the  competent  court  i.e.  magistrate  having
      jurisdiction in the matter and  the  magistrate  may  take  cognizance
      under Section 190 Cr.P.C.
However, it is still open to the  magistrate
      to direct further investigation under the provisions of Section 173(8)
      Cr.P.C.  If the  case  is  triable  by  the  Court  of  Sessions,  the
      magistrate would commit the case to the said court under  Section  209
      Cr.P.C.
It is for the court to examine whether  there  is  sufficient
      material collected during investigation and filed alongwith the charge
      sheet that a prima facie view can be  taken  to  proceed  against  the
      accused and in view thereof,  frame charges under Section 228  Cr.P.C.
      At this stage the remedy available  to  the  accused  is  to  ask  for
      discharge under Section 227 Cr.P.C. In case  charges  are  framed  the
      accused has to face the trial, charges can  be  added/altered  at  any
      stage of the trial, before the pronouncement of the judgment  to  suit
      the evidence adduced before the court, under the provisions of Section
      216 Cr.P.C. The only legal requirement is that a  witness  has  to  be
      recalled as provided under  Section  217  Cr.P.C.  when  a  charge  is
      altered or added by the court.


      20.   In the instant  case,  charge  sheet  had  been  filed  and  the
      cognizance had been taken by the magistrate concerned;  the  committal
      proceedings have not  yet  taken  place;  and  some  of  the  offences
      attracted in this case are exclusively triable by the Sessions  Court.
      Umesh Kumar, appellant approached the High  Court  under  Section  482
      Cr.P.C. and the charge sheet has been partly  quashed  observing  that
      the provisions of Section 468 IPC are not attracted.


      21.   The question does arise as to
whether  such  an  order  attained
      finality and  in  case  the  evidence  is  adduced  before  the  court
      concerned, whether the trial court can still hold that  the  applicant
      is required to be tried for the offence under Section 468  I.P.C.  and
      further whether the trial would be competent on  the  said  charge  in
      exercise of its power under Section 216 Cr.P.C.?


      22.   In State of Maharashtra v. Salman Salim Khan, AIR 2004 SC  1189,
      this Court depreciated the practice of entertaining the petition under
      Section 482 Cr.P.C. at a pre-mature stage of the proceedings observing
      as under:
           “….The arguments regarding the framing of a  proper  charge  are
           best left to be decided by the trial  court  at  an  appropriate
           stage of  the  trial.   Otherwise  as  observed  in  this  case,
           proceedings get protracted  by the intervention of the  superior
           courts….The High Court by the impugned  order  had  allowed  the
           said application quashing  the  charge  under  Section  304  IPC
           against the respondent herein  while  it  maintained  the  other
           charges and direct the Magistrate’s court to frame the  de  novo
           charges……We are of the opinion that though it is open to a  High
           Court entertaining a petition under Section 482 of the  Code  to
           quash charges framed by the trial Court, same cannot be done  by
           weighing the correctness or sufficiency of evidence. In  a  case
           praying for quashing of the charge, the principle to be  adopted
           by the High Court should be that if the entire evidence produced
           by the prosecution is to be believed,  would  it  constitute  an
           offence  or  not.  The   truthfulness,   the   sufficiency   and
           acceptability of the material produced at the time of framing of
           charge can be done only at the stage of trial.  ……we  think  the
           High Court was not justified in this case in giving a finding as
           to the non-existence of  material  to  frame  a  charge  for  an
           offence punishable under Section 304, Part II, IPC, therefore so
           far as the finding given by the High Court is concerned, we  are
           satisfied that it is too premature a finding and  ought  not  to
           have been given at this stage .….”. (Emphasis added)
            The Court set aside the order of the High Court and left it open
      to the trial court to  modify  the  charges  in  accordance  with  the
      evidence adduced before it.
      (See also: Sohan Lal & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1990 SC 2158)


      23.   A Constitution Bench of this Court reiterated a similar view  in
      CBI & Ors. v. Keshub Mahindra etc.,  AIR 2011 SC 2037  observing  that
      when the charges are framed, the court makes an endorsement till  that
      stage. So  charges  are  framed  on  the  materials  produced  by  the
      prosecution for framing the charges “at that stage”.  Such  indication
      is necessary otherwise the provisions contained in Sections 216,  323,
      386, 397, 399, 401 etc.  Cr.P.C.,   would  be  rendered  nugatory  and
      denuded a competent  court of the powers under those provisions.   The
      court cannot be restrained from exercising  its  powers  either  under
      Section 323 or Section 216 Cr.P.C.


      24.   The High Court was approached by Umesh  Kumar,  appellant  under
      section 482 Cr.P.C. at a premature stage. At the said stage  the  High
      Court could examine the chargesheet, case diary and other material  in
      the chargesheet which  by  no  means  can  be  termed  as  substantive
      evidence. (Vide: Lok Ram v Nihal Singh & Ors. AIR 2006 SC 1892).


      25.   Thus, in view of above, the order of  the  High  Court  impugned
      before us cannot be termed as a final decision. The order  is  subject
      to further order which could  be  passed  by  the  trial  court  under
      Section 216 Cr.P.C., on the basis of the evidence  to  be  led  during
      trial.  If the impugned order is dubbed as having  attained  finality,
      the provisions of Section 216 Cr.P.C.  would  render  otiose/nugatory.
      Thus, the same is to be read that  the  said  order  had  been  passed
      taking into consideration the material which was  available  “at  that
      stage” and it is still open to the trial court to  add  or  alter  the
      charges according to the evidence produced before it.


      Complaint against Respondent No.2:


      26.   The complaint was initially made in respect  of  acquiring  huge
      immovable properties by respondent No. 2 in his name and in  the  name
      of his wife, and the Central Government had asked the State Government
      to conduct an inquiry into the said allegations.  The complaint may be
      forged or fabricated, but it is nobody’s case that the copies of  sale
      deeds annexed alongwith the said complaint  were  not  genuine.  While
      issuing  direction  to  hold  inquiry/investigation  as  to  who   had
      fabricated the said complaint and forged the signatures of  Shri  M.A.
      Khan, M.P., the allegations of acquiring properties by the  respondent
      No.2 have been abandoned and unattended altogether.
           Even though the complaint was bogus,  however,  the  sale  deeds
      annexed alongwith the same though illegally collected by someone, have
      not been found to be fabricated documents.


      27.   It is a settled legal proposition that even  if  a  document  is
      procured by improper  or  illegal  means,  there  is  no  bar  to  its
      admissibility if it is relevant and its genuineness is proved. If  the
      evidence is admissible, it does not matter how it has  been  obtained.
      However, as a  matter  of  caution,  the  court  in  exercise  of  its
      discretion may disallow certain evidence in a  criminal  case  if  the
      strict rules of  admissibility  would  operate  unfairly  against  the
      accused. More so, the court must conclude that it is genuine and  free
      from tampering or mutilation. This court repelled the contention  that
      obtaining evidence illegally by using tape recordings  or  photographs
      offend Articles 20(3) and 21 of the Constitution of India as acquiring
      the evidence by such methods was not the procedure established by law.
      (Vide: Yusufalli Esmail Nagree v. The State of Maharashtra,  AIR  1968
      SC 147; Magraj Patodia v. R.K. Birla & Ors., 1970 (2)  SCC  888;  R.M.
      Malkani v. State of Maharashtra,  AIR  1973  SC  157;  Pooran  Mal  v.
      Director of Inspection, Income-Tax, New Delhi &  Ors.,   AIR  1974  SC
      348; and State (NCT of Delhi)  v.  Navjot  Sandhu  alias  Afsan  Guru,
      (2005) 11 SCC 600).


      28.   In such a fact-situation if illegally collected material can  be
      examined by the court of law, we fail  to  understand  how  the  State
      Government could not examine the contents  of  the  complaint  on  the
      basis of the annexed copies of sale deeds etc.
           During the arguments of this case, our conscious was shocked  as
      to the manner the State of Andhra Pradesh has misdirected  itself  and
      abandoned the most relevant  issue  i.e.  complaint  against  Shri  V.
      Dinesh Reddy – respondent no.2 and  concentrated  exclusively  against
      Umesh Kumar, appellant. Thus, vide  order  dated  24.7.2013,  we  have
      asked the Chief Secretary of the State of Andhra Pradesh  to  disclose
      as to whether  any  preliminary/disciplinary  inquiry  has  ever  been
      conducted by the State in respect of the alleged sale deeds in  favour
      of the spouse or her general power of attorney holders or relatives of
      respondent No. 2.


      29.   In reply to our order dated 24.7.2013, the Chief  Secretary  has
      filed an undated affidavit though attested by  a  Joint  Secretary  to
      Govt. of A.P., and has given numerous explanations in respect  of  the
      alleged pseudonymous petition filed with  a  fictitious  name  of  the
      Samithi and with the forged signature of Shri  M.A.  Khan,  M.P.   The
      Chief Secretary has taken the plea that the Government of  A.P.  could
      not investigate an enquiry about the disproportionate  assets  of  the
      respondent no.2 in view of the fact that  the  High  Court  of  Andhra
      Pradesh vide order dated 2.5.2013 stayed the operation of the  learned
      Single Judge’s order to conduct an enquiry into the allegations.   The
      Chief Secretary to the  Govt.  of  Andhra  Pradesh  has  not  revealed
      whether a preliminary enquiry or a  domestic  enquiry  had  ever  been
      conducted till 2.5.2013 when  the  High  Court  passed  the  restraint
      order.  The complaint was filed on 22.4.2011 and more than  two  years
      had elapsed when the High Court passed the order. No  explanation  has
      been furnished as to why for two years the enquiry could not  be  held
      in this regard.


      30.   Attestation of the undated affidavit is in  utter  disregard  to
      the provisions of Section 139 of the Code of  Civil  Procedure,  1908.
      (hereinafter referred to as the `CPC’). The Supreme Court  Rules  1966
      under Order XI, Rule 7 also require adherence  to  the  provisions  of
      Section 139 CPC. Hence, his reply is not worth taking  on  record  and
      being undated, renders the same to be a piece of waste paper.
            The definition of ‘affidavit’ in Section  3(3)  of  the  General
      Clauses Act 1897 provides  that  it  “shall  include  affirmation  and
      declaration in the case of persons by law allowed to affirm or declare
      instead of swearing”.  Thus, it is an essential characteristic  of  an
      affidavit that it should be made  on  oath  or  affirmation  before  a
      person having authority to administer the  oath  or  affirmation,  and
      thus, duty to state on oath on the part of the deponent is sacrosanct.
       Same remains the position in respect of  administration  of  oath  as
      required under the Oaths Act 1873.
      (See:  Krishan  Chander  Nayar  v.  The  Chairman,   Central   Tractor
      Organisation & Ors., AIR 1962 SC 602; Chhotan Prasad Singh &  Ors.  v.
      Hari Dusadh & Ors., AIR 1977 SC 407; and M.  Veerabhadra  Rao  v.  Tek
      Chand, AIR 1985 SC 28).


      31.   In view of the above, we have no hesitation  to  hold  that  the
      Chief Secretary had the audacity not to ensure the compliance  of  the
      order of this court dated 24.7.2013, and we have no words  to  express
      our anguish and condemn the attitude adopted by the  Chief  Secretary.
      More so, holding such a responsible post in the State,  he  must  have
      some sense of responsibility and should have been aware  of  what  are
      the minimum requirements of law, and even if he did not know he  could
      have consulted any law officer of the State before filing the  undated
      affidavit.


      32.   Be that as it may, facts of the case warranted some  enquiry  in
      respect of the allegations of acquiring huge  properties  by  Shri  V.
      Dinesh Reddy – respondent no.2. The State took the  courage  to  flout
      the order of the Central Government and did not look into the contents
      of the complaint and misdirected  the  enquiry  against  Umesh  Kumar,
      appellant. In such a fact-situation, this court would not fail in  its
      duty to direct the enquiry in those allegations.


      33.   In view of the above, the appeals are disposed of directing  the
      CBI  to  investigate  the  matter  against  Shri  V.  Dinesh  Reddy  –
      respondent no. 2 on the allegations of acquiring the  disproportionate
      assets. However, this should  not  be  considered  as  expressing  any
      opinion upon the merits of  the  case.  The  Chief  Secretary  to  the
      Government of Andhra Pradesh is directed to make  the  copies  of  the
      said sale deeds available to the CBI for investigation.
      34.   Case of Umesh Kumar – appellant would proceed before  the  Trial
      Court as explained hereinabove.
           A copy of the judgment and order be sent to the  Director,  CBI,
      forthwith.  The CBI shall submit  the  Status  Report  to  this  Court
      within four months.


                                       ……..…………..…………J.
                                                      (Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)




                                                      ………..……………..……J.
                                                      (S.A. BOBDE)
      New Delhi,
      September 6, 2013




















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