Karnataka HC allows Anticipatory Bail Petition for Branch Manager of Karnataka Grameen Bank in Funds Misappropriation Case

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A criminal petition is filed by Jagannath Kulkarni and Revanappa under section 438 of criminal procedure code praying to release the petitioner on bail for the Offences Punishable under sections 409 and 420 Of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Facts of the case

Revanappa /Accused No.1 was the Branch Manager of Karnataka Grameen Bank, Aurad Branch from 15.05.2017 to 28.01.2019. He was suspended on 29.01.2019 for some lapse in his duty. Thereafter one Srinivas was posted as manager of the said branch. After taking charge, it came to his notice that there were no records in respect of loan transactions of 12 persons. Further, Madappa, a customer of that branch had approached on 23.08.2019 to make an enquiry about the outstanding amount on his account. He noticed that a sum of Rs.7,00,000/- was transferred from his account to another account on 22.10.2018. In this regard he gave a complaint, alleging that he had neither issued any cheque or transferred the amount and he denied his signature on the withdrawal challan. Thereafter, one M. Guruprasadrao was appointed to make enquiry and he visited the branch and gave report stating that without there being any documents, fake crop loans were credited in the name of 12 persons by misusing power by the accused colluding with other persons, who are officials in the same branch and have withdrawn 17.55 lakhs. Thus, they misappropriated the funds and cheated the bank. On a complaint lodged by one Sahebgouda Mulimani, Regional Officer of Karnataka Grameen Bank, the aforesaid case came to be registered.

Arguments

The learned counsel appearing for the petitioners submits that both the petitioners are innocent and if any lapse has occurred, the petitioners’ alone can not be held responsible. They submit that both the petitioners have been suspended and there is no question of petitioners interfering with the investigation and tampering the documents. They submit that incident is alleged to have taken place in the year 2017 and there is an inordinate delay in lodging the complaint. The petitioners are ready to co-operate with the investigation. If they are arrested then the irreparable loss will be caused to them. Accordingly, they seek to allow petitions.

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Per contra, the learned Government Pleader submits that investigation is still under progress. While the petitioners were in-charge of the bank, in the course of the transaction of the bank they have misappropriated huge amount by colluding with each other. He submits that petitioners have cheated the bank and withdrawn money using ATM cards and also using POS Machine. An amount with interest to the tune of 14.74 lakhs, have to be recovered from the petitioners. Accordingly, he seeks to reject the petitions.

Court’s Order

It is not in dispute that both the petitioners have been suspended. Therefore, it cannot be said that, if relief of anticipatory bail is granted they would tamper the records of the bank. It is also brought to the notice that out of Rs.14.74 lakhs a certain amount has been returned by the borrowers. If lapses are committed by the petitioners in the course of business transaction, whether the said lapse have been committed intentionally or whether there was an element of cheating, have to be looked into in course of investigation. Hence, by imposing suitable conditions, court deem it appropriate to grant relief of anticipatory bail to the petitioners. Accordingly,  the petitions are allowed under certain conditions.

  1. Petitioners/accused Nos.1 and 2 shall appear before the Investigating Officer within one week from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and shall execute personal bond in a sum of Rs.1,00,000/-(Rupees One-Lakh Only) each with two sureties for the like sum to the satisfaction of the Investigating Officer.
  2. Petitioners/accused Nos.1 and 2 shall co-operate with the investigation and shall appear before the Investigating Officer as and when required for the purpose of investigation.
  3. Petitioners/accused Nos.1 and 2 shall not tamper with the prosecution witnesses either directly or indirectly and shall not hamper the case of the prosecution in any manner.
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