advocatemmmohan

My photo

ADVOCATEMMMOHAN -  Practicing both IN CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND FAMILY LAWS,Etc.,

WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

WELCOME TO MY LEGAL WORLD - FOR KNOWLEDGE IN LAW & FOR LEGAL OPINIONS - SHARE THIS

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The appellant was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years on each count of conviction under Section 7 and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Act and the sentence imposed was ordered to run concurrently. The incident had taken place in the year 1996 about nineteen years ago and for all these years the appellant has undergone the agony of criminal proceedings. Keeping in view the passage of time and that the appellant is now aged seventy four years, in our view, while upholding the conviction of the appellant, interest of justice would be met by reducing the sentence of rigorous imprisonment of four years to one year rigorous imprisonment. Application for exemption from surrendering was allowed by the Chamber Judge on 20.09.2013, which was subsequently continued until further orders by this Court’s order dated 25.11.2013. Necessary steps be taken forthwith to take the appellant into custody to serve out the remaining part of the modified sentence. Judgment of the High Court is accordingly modified and this appeal is allowed in part.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 797    OF 2015
                 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No.8161/2013)


K.L. BAKOLIA                                              ..Appellant

                                   Versus

STATE THROUGH DIRECTOR, C.B.I.              ..Respondent



                               J U D G M E N T


R. BANUMATHI, J.


            Leave granted.
2.          This appeal assails the correctness of the  judgment  passed  by
the High Court of Delhi in Criminal Appeal No.207/2003 dated  11.7.2013,  in
and by which, the High Court  confirmed  the  conviction  of  the  appellant
under   Section 7 and Section  13(2)  read  with  Section  13(1)(d)  of  the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the sentence imposed on him.
3.          Shamsher Singh-complainant (PW4) is the sole proprietor of  M/s.
Colonel’s Security Services  working  on  contract  for  providing  security
staff to Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, New  Delhi  on
annual basis from 1.03.1993 which was  subsequently  renewed  from  year  to
year basis  upto  31.03.1996  and  the  contract  was  due  for  renewal  on
1.04.1996.  Complainant stated that  on  2.04.1996  when  he  contacted  the
appellant for renewal of his contract and payment of his  outstanding  dues,
the appellant demanded Rs.50,000/- as a bribe for renewal  of  contract  and
when complainant stated that he was not in a position  to  pay  Rs.50,000/-,
the bribe amount was reduced to Rs.20,000/- and the  complainant  was  asked
to meet the appellant on 3.04.1996 and pay the  bribe  amount.   Complainant
was not interested in paying the bribe and on the same day he  went  to  CBI
office and narrated the facts.  The complainant was asked  to  come  on  the
next day with Rs.20,000/- by CBI officer.  In the evening of 3.04.1996,  the
appellant rang up the complainant and inquired him as  to  why  he  did  not
contact him on the said date, for which, the  complainant  replied  that  he
would come to the residence of the appellant on the next  day  between  1.00
to 2.00 p.m.
4.          On 4.4.1996, the complainant  visited  CBI  office  and  he  was
asked to submit his complaint in writing.  Based on the complaint,  FIR  was
registered  in  RC  No.24(A)/96-CBI/ACB/N.Delhi  under  Section  7  of   the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.  Raiding party was constituted and  pre-
trap  proceedings  were  conducted  and  Rs.20,000/-  consisting  of   forty
currency notes  of  rupees  five  hundred  denomination  each  treated  with
phenolphthalein powder were given to complainant.  As the complainant  alone
was supposed  to  go  and  contact  the  appellant,  a  two  piece  recorder
consisting of recorder and mic-cum-transmitter  along  with  audio  cassette
was put in the pocket of the complainant.  A further direction was given  to
the complainant to give signal to the trap party by saying ‘Gin Leejiye’.
5.          The complainant and the trap  party  went  to  Pusa  Complex  at
about 1.45 p.m. The complainant after switching on  the  mic-cum-transmitter
went inside the house of the appellant  who  welcomed  him.   The  appellant
inquired from the complainant ‘Laye Ho’ and the complainant replied  in  the
affirmative.  When complainant gave the bribe amount of Rs.20,000/-  to  the
appellant, he raised the cushion of the sofa and asked  the  complainant  to
keep the money under the cushion of the sofa.  As the  complainant  insisted
that the money should be handed over in the hand, the complainant  took  the
tainted money in his right hand and kept it under the cushion of  his  sofa.
The complainant gave the signal ‘Gin Leejiye’ where after the CBI  officials
rushed into the drawing room of the appellant and questioned him  about  the
bribe money and the appellant was perplexed and kept mum.   On  instructions
from the officer, PW6 lifted the cushion of the sofa and the trap money  was
recovered.  Wash of both the hands of the appellant in the sodium  carbonate
solution turned pink.  Trap laying officer prepared  the  seizure  memo  and
completed other  formalities  of  trap  proceedings.   After  completion  of
investigation, chargesheet was filed against the appellant under  Section  7
and Section 13 (2) read with  Section  13  (1)  (d)  of  the  Prevention  of
Corruption Act, 1988 (for short ‘the Act’).
6.          To bring home the guilt of  the  accused,  the  prosecution  has
examined  ten  witnesses.   Upon  consideration  of  the  evidence,  learned
Special Judge convicted the appellant under  Section  7  and  Section  13(2)
read with Section 13(1)(d)  of  the  Act  and  sentenced  the  appellant  to
undergo rigorous imprisonment  for a period  of four  years  on  each  count
with a  fine of  Rs.500/-  each  with  default  clause.   Aggrieved  by  the
conviction, the appellant filed appeal before the High Court  of  Delhi  and
vide impugned judgment, the High  Court  confirmed  the  conviction  of  the
appellant and also the sentence and the fine imposed on  him.   This  appeal
assails the correctness of the same.
7.          We have heard Ms. Vibha Dutta Makhija,  learned  Senior  Counsel
for the appellant, who submitted that the initial demand was not  proved  by
the prosecution which is evident from the self-contradictory version of  the
complainant and in  the  light  of  contradictory  statement  of  witnesses,
recovery  has  become  highly  doubtful  and  the  courts  below  erred   in
convicting the appellant for the alleged receipt of  illegal  gratification.
The learned counsel inter-alia submitted that  the  occurrence  was  in  the
year 1996 and the appellant is now aged seventy four years  and  prayed  for
leniency.
8.          Per contra, learned counsel for the  respondent  contended  that
the prosecution  has  proved  the  demand  and  acceptance  of  the  illegal
gratification by the appellant and upon  appreciation  of  evidence,  courts
below rightly convicted the appellant and the  concurrent  findings  warrant
no interference.
9.          For coming to  the  finding  of  guilt  for  the  offence  under
Section 13(1)(d) of the Act, firstly, there must be a demand and   secondly,
 there must be acceptance in the sense that  the  accused  received  illegal
gratification. Courts below recorded  concurrent  findings  that  there  was
evidence on record to substantiate the fact that there was a demand and  the
complainant paid the bribe amount to the  appellant  who  has  accepted  the
same. Courts below also recorded   concurrent  findings  that  there  is  no
reason to discredit the testimony of the complainant (PW4) and Inspector  of
Police-A.K. Kapoor (PW7).  Defence plea of the  accused  that  the  currency
notes were put under the sofa without his knowledge was rightly rejected  by
the courts below. Conviction of the appellant under Section  7  and  Section
13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Act is unassailable.
10.         In this appeal,  notice was issued only limited to the  question
of sentence.  The appellant was sentenced to undergo  rigorous  imprisonment
for four years on each count of  conviction  under  Section  7  and  Section
13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d)  of the Act and the sentence  imposed   was
ordered to run concurrently.  The incident had taken place in the year  1996
about nineteen  years  ago  and  for  all  these  years  the  appellant  has
undergone the agony of criminal proceedings.   Keeping  in view the  passage
of time and that the appellant is  now aged  seventy  four   years,  in  our
view,  while  upholding  the  conviction  of  the  appellant,   interest  of
justice would be met by reducing  the sentence of  rigorous imprisonment  of
four years to one year rigorous  imprisonment.   Application  for  exemption
from surrendering was allowed by the Chamber Judge on 20.09.2013, which  was
subsequently continued until further orders  by  this  Court’s  order  dated
25.11.2013.  Necessary steps be taken forthwith to take the  appellant  into
custody to serve out the remaining part of the modified sentence.   Judgment
of the High Court is accordingly modified and  this  appeal  is  allowed  in
part.


                                                                ……………………..J.
                                (T.S. Thakur)


                                                                ……………………..J.
                                 (R. Banumathi)

New Delhi;
May 15, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.