Supreme Court of India
State Of U.P. And Ors vs Chaudhari Ran Beer Singh And Anr on 1 July, 2015Author: U U Lalit

Bench: A.K. Sikri, Uday Umesh Lalit





Chaitanya Prakash Audichya …. Appellant


C.B.I. ….


Uday Umesh Lalit, J.

1. This appeal by Special Leave challenges the judgment and order
dated 06-12-2010 passed by the High Court of Bombay at Goa in Criminal
Appeal No.12 of 2010 by which the High Court affirmed the conviction
and sentence of the appellant under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d) and 13(2)
of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (hereinafter referred to as
“the Act”).

2. The case of the prosecution was that PW1 Chandra Shekhar Bandari
was sole proprietor of M/s JCS Associates, which firm was undertaking
construction work for governmental agencies. The firm was awarded two
contracts in March 2003 by Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Betul, Goa
and it was mandatory requirement to have a licence from the office of
the Assistant Labour Commissioner, (Central) Vasco. PW1 therefore
applied for requisite licence vide applications, Exts. 31 and 32 with
necessary documents along with prescribed fees and the applications
were received in the office on 13-05-2003. According to PW1, he was
told that the applications would be processed within seven to ten
days. Since no communication was received within ten days, he
approached the appellant who was then working as Assistant Labour
Commissioner (Central) Vasco. PW1 was told by the appellant that his
application would be duly processed. However nothing was heard in the

3. According to the case of the prosecution the appellant was to
visit the site of the proposed construction on 29-05-2003. PW1 was
therefore present at the site. The appellant came and verified the
documents at the site itself. According to PW1, the appellant was
camping in the Rest House when PW1 went to meet him. The appellant had
prepared Inspection Notes, Ext. 33 bearing signatures of the appellant
and PW1. In the rest house the appellant allegedly demanded Rs.30,000/-
towards illegal gratification for issuance of licence to PW1. The
appellant told him to pay Rs.10,000/- by next day and the balance
amount of Rs.20,000/- was to be paid after issuance of the licence.

4. On the next day i.e. on 30.05.2003 PW1 decided to file a
complaint against the appellant in the office of CBI, Panaji and gave
written complaint, Ext. 34 which was received at 1.15 pm in the
office. The necessary approval having been received at 1.56 pm,
appropriate steps for registering the crime and to lay a trap were
undertaken. A request was sent to the office of Assistant General
Manager, Bank of India, Panaji at about 2.25 pm to depute two officers
from the Bank to act as panch witnesses. In the mean time FIR was
registered at 3.15 pm in pursuance of said complaint Ext. 34.
Accordingly PW2 Ranjit Singh Thakur and one Karapurkar, both officials
from the Zonal Office of Bank of India were sent to act as panch
witnesses at about 4.30 pm. Pre trap proceedings were undertaken. The
numbers of three currency notes of Rs.1000/- each and fourteen notes
of Rs.500/- each produced by PW1 were noted. Phenolphthalein powder
was applied to the currency notes. The panch witnesses and PW1 were
explained and briefed about the trap and those currency notes were
kept in the shirt pocket of PW1 with instructions not to touch those
notes unless and until demand was made by the appellant. The members
of the raiding party then left the office of CBI at about 5.30 pm.
Since PW1 was unaware about the residential address of the appellant,
the party first went to his office where one of the clerks gave the
residential address of the appellant, whereafter the party proceeded
to his residence. PW1 along with PW2 went to the house of the
appellant which was situated on the ground floor of a building. The
door was opened by wife of the appellant who told PW1 that the
appellant was not available and that he had told her that in case PW1
came, he should be asked to wait. She further conveyed that the
appellant would be back after 10.00 pm where upon PW1 told her that
they would come back later and left the place. The raiding party then
waited till 10.00 pm.

5. At about 10.15 pm PW1 and PW2 went to the residence of the
appellant who opened the door and invited them inside. The appellant
asked PW1 whether he had brought Rs.10,000/- as told by the appellant.
Thereafter PW1 handed over the amount of Rs.10,000/- kept in his
shirt pocket to the appellant who told him that the licence would be
issued on Monday i.e. 02.06.2003. The appellant then kept the amount
in his T-shirt pocket. PW2 was all the while sitting with PW1. PW2
then came out of the house and upon his signaling the raiding team
went inside. The wrist of the right hand of the appellant was caught-
hold of and the fingers of his right hand upon being dipped, the
solution turned pink. The numbers of currency notes were verified and
the portion of T-shirt of the appellant also turned pink upon being
dipped in the solution. Post-trap panchnama was drawn. The search of
the house of the appellant conducted thereafter resulted in recovery
of cash leading to registration of a separate case against him with
which we are presently not concerned.

6. The investigation was completed and appropriate sanction was
granted for prosecuting the appellant for the offences punishable
under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d) and13(2) of the Act. The charges were
framed and the matter was tried in the court of Special Judge, Goa at
Madgaon vide Special Case No.6 of 2009. The prosecution principally
relied upon the evidence of PW1 and PW2 to establish the demand and
acceptance of gratification by the appellant. PW1 also deposed to the
facts regarding his application for issuance of licence, his meeting
with the appellant in the Rest House on 29.05.2003, the demand made by
the appellant at that time and his complaint lodged on the next day.
He further deposed that the appellant had asked him to come to his
house after office hours on 30.05.2003 along with bribe amount and
that when the wife of the appellant opened the door of the house she
said that the appellant had conveyed that in case PW1 came, he be
asked to wait. PW2 while supporting the version of PW1, stated that
when PW1 asked about his licence, the appellant told him that in case
PW1 paid the agreed amount the appellant would issue the licence on
the next day. The witness further stated that PW1 thereafter took out
and gave the money to the appellant which was kept by the appellant
in his T-shirt pocket. PW3 Sadanand Naik, Upper Division Clerk in the
office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Vasco stated that the
applications preferred by PW1 were registered on 13.05.2003, that
those applications were in order, that the appellant had told PW3 to
keep those applications pending and that similar applications were
disposed of normally within 2-3 days. PW6 Police Inspector Chonkar
Investigating Officer deposed about the various steps during the
course of the trap proceedings including pre-trap and post-trap

7. The appellant examined his immediate successor in office Shri
Karamchand as DW1 and himself as DW2. It was his case that after
conducting inspections at various sites on 30.05.2003 he returned home
at 10.30 pm and while he was preparing to retire two unexpected
visitors, namely, PW1 and PW2 came to his residence. It was further
deposed that PW1 had pushed something in his shirt pocket whereupon
the appellant put his hand in the pocket to find out what it was, when
someone who had entered his house caught hold of his hand. He further
stated that after the raid, he was placed under arrest and was
released on bail on 04.06.2003 whereafter he wrote letter dated
10.06.2003 to the Secretary, Ministry of Labour.

8. However, the version in said letter dated 10.06.2003, on which
the appellant heavily relied and which was also placed on record in
the present appeal, was to the following effect:
“After conducting inspections when I returned back at home
around 10.15 pm two persons i.e. Shri Chandra Shekar along with
another person forcefully entered in my house and pressurized me
to accept some bribe and demanded to serve cold drinks. Since
this was an odd time and nobody was available nearby to help
hence I acted as per their desire. They forcefully dropped some
rupees in my pocket and threatened me. Since myself was alone
with my wife and I was very much tired after conducting lot of
inspections in remote area and due to long journey I was not in
a position to think much to come out from the situation. After
that immediately, some CBI Officers entered and pressurized me
to take out the money from my pocket. When I requested them
that this fellow has forcefully put this money in my pocket and
if they want they can take it from my pocket and that I am not
aware also that how much money they have put in my pocket, the
CBI Officers were not ready to listen to my request and they
pressurized me to take out the money with my own hand.”

9. The trial court after considering the material on record came to
the conclusion that the case against the appellant stood fully
established and that he had abused his position as public servant by
accepting illegal gratification and had committed offences as alleged.
The trial court convicted the appellant under Section 7 of the Act
and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment for one year and to pay fine
of Rs.10,000/-, in default whereof to suffer simple imprisonment for
two months. The appellant was also convicted under Section 13(1)(d)
read with Section 13(2) of the Act and sentenced to suffer
imprisonment for one year and to pay fine of Rs.10,000/-, in default
whereof to undergo simple imprisonment for two months. Both the
sentences were ordered to run concurrently. The appellant preferred
Criminal Appeal No.12 of 2010 in the High Court and the High Court by
the judgment under appeal confirmed the conviction and sentence as
ordered by the trial court. In this appeal by special leave, the
appellant was directed to be released on bail, which facility he
continues to enjoy.

10. Shri R. Venkataramani, learned senior Advocate along with Shri
Manu Mridul, learned Advocate appearing in support of the appeal
submitted inter alia, that (1) the FIR in the present case was
registered at 3.15 pm on 10.05.2003 whereas the services of the panch
witnesses were requisitioned at about 2.25 pm i.e. even before the
registration of the crime. (2) In the complaint Ext.34 the place and
time for acceptance of money as demanded by the public servant was not
mentioned at all. (3) The fact that on the day in question the
raiding party first went to the office also indicated the absence of
fixing of such definite place and time; which makes the case of the
prosecution completely suspect. (4) The entire trap was undertaken
without making any preliminary investigation which as per the CBI
manual ought to have been undertaken first. (5) The way the raiding
party had conducted itself showed it was clearly a case of the public
servant being chased. (6) The appellant was responsible for having
initiated certain proceedings against PW1 and thus the present
complaint was not bona fide.

11. In support of these submissions reliance was placed on the
decisions of this Court in P. Parasurami Reddy v. State of Andhra
Pradesh[1], Banarsi Dass v. State of Haryana[2] and State of
Punjab v. Madan Mohan Lal Verma[3].

12. Shri P.K. Dey, learned Advocate appearing for the respondent,
while countering the aforesaid submissions submitted that after
receipt of the complaint at about 1.15 pm on 30.05.2003 the requisite
approval was received on fax at about 1.56 pm, whereafter looking to
the allegations in the complaint that the money had to be given that
very day, immediate steps were undertaken. As part of the exercise,
services of panch witnesses were requisitioned while the FIR was being
registered. He further submitted that since the money had to be paid
by 30.05.2003, because of paucity of time no preliminary investigation
was undertaken. Relying on the testimony of PW3 he submitted that the
applications preferred by PW1 were ordered by the appellant to be kept
pending and that the acceptance of gratification on the day in
question completely clinched the matter. Relevant currency notes were
found in possession of the appellant and in his submission the aspect
of demand and acceptance also stood proved by consistent versions of
PW1 and PW2.

13. We have gone through the record and considered the relevant
material. The fact that PW1 was awarded contracts by ONGC and that it
was a mandatory requirement to have the requisite licence from the
office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner is well established.
Further the fact that PW1 preferred applications Exts.31 and 32 for
necessary licences is also established on record. According to PW3
the applications were registered on 13.05.2003 and that the
applications were in order. Furthermore, according to this witness
such applications would normally be dealt with in 2-3 days and that
the applications were kept pending because of the instructions of the
appellant himself. Though a feeble attempt was made to submit that
there were interpolations in the applications, the assertion that the
applications were complete and kept pending because of instructions of
the appellant could not be controverted. We, therefore, accept that
the applications were complete in all respects and as stated by PW3
they were kept pending because of the instructions of the appellant.
It is also part of the record that the site in question was inspected
by the appellant on 29.05.2003 as the inspection notes Ext.33 would
disclose. The assertion on part of PW1 that he had an occasion to
meet the appellant that day is well supported. Though it was denied
that any meeting had taken place in the Rest House where demand was
made as alleged, the facts as they stand unfolded, fully substantiate
the assertion made by PW1.

14. Complaint Ext.34 preferred on 30.05.2003 itself disclosed that
the money was demanded and that the complainant was asked to make the
payment by 30.05.2003 itself. Given the assertions in the complaint,
the submission that no preliminary investigation could be undertaken
because of paucity of time is well founded. At the same time the
incongruity in the timing when services of panch witnesses were sought
for also pales into insignificance. It is true that the complaint did
not state or suggest any time and place at which the complainant was
supposed to fulfill the demand. Though in P. Parasurami Reddy v.
State of Andhra Pradesh (supra) there are certain observations that
there was no prior commitment fixing the time and place for receiving
the bribe, the decision discloses that there were various other
circumstances which weighed with this Court. In any case, the facts
in the present case show otherwise.
It was asserted by the complainant in his examination that he
was asked by the appellant to see him at his residence after the
office hours. Further, when PW1 and PW2 went to the house of the
appellant, the conversation which PW1 had with wife of the appellant
clearly shows that the visit of PW1 was quite expected. On this issue
there was no effective cross examination at all. It would therefore
be inconsequential if no prior commitment regarding fixing of the time
and place for receiving the bribe was mentioned in the complaint.

15. In the present case the versions of PW1 and PW2 are completely
consistent establishing the basic ingredients of demand and
acceptance. The tainted currency notes were found on the person of
the appellant. The explanation give by him soon after the incident
through his letter dated 10.06.2003 is completely different from the
theory put forth while the appellant examined himself as DW2. In our
view, the demand and acceptance thus not only stand fully established
but the presumption invocable under Section 20 of the Act also stood

16. The other two cases cited by the appellant dealt with situations
where the demand and acceptance were not fully established and despite
that an attempt was made to rely on the presumption invocable under
Section 20 of the Act. Such is not the case in the present matter.
It is further well established that where misconduct is proved, the
alleged enmity between the complainant and the delinquent officer is
immaterial. (See B. Hanumantha Rao v. State of A.P.[4]).

17. In the circumstances we are not persuaded to take a view
different from the one which weighed with the courts below. Affirming
the decisions taken by the High Court and the trial court, we dismiss
the present appeal. The bail bonds stand cancelled and the appellant
shall be taken in custody forthwith to undergo the sentence awarded to

(A.K. Sikri)

(Uday Umesh Lalit)

New Delhi,
July 01, 2015
[1] (2011) 12 SCC 294,
[2] (2010) 4 SCC 450
[3] (2013) 14 SCC 153
[4] 1993 Supp. (1) SCC 323


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