On 10.06.2021, the Telangana High court had allowed the Criminal Appeal of the Sub-Inspector and Police Constable. It was against the previous order of the Trial Court relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Brief of the Case
The Accused persons were Police Sub Inspector and Police Constable. They were supposed to arrest the complainant, against whom a non-bailable warrant was issued relating to cheque bounce of Rs. 100,000. Instead of making the arrest, the accused person demanded a bribe of Rs 20,000 for the non-execution of the non-bailable warrant. The complainant had negotiated the amount to Rs.15,000. Instead of giving the Bribe, the complainant filed a complaint against the accused persons. After an inquiry, a complaint was filed against the accused person under Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The Trial Court found them guilty. However, the accused person claimed to be innocent. Thus, they filed an appeal in the High Court of Telangana.
Arguments before the Court
The learned counsel of the Appellants (accused persons) had submitted that the judgment by the Trial Court was erroneous with error in law as well as facts. It was prayed to set aside the same. Further, it was submitted that the Trial Court had not considered the fact that there was no independent evidence to support the case of the prosecution.
Additionally, it was contended that the investigation was not properly done and indicated procedural defects, which eventually pointed out that the entire investigation was not properly conducted. Among others, reference was made to the case of Devi Lal v. The State of Rajasthan ((2019) 19 SCC 447) decided by the Supreme Court of India. It was also submitted that there was a lack of authenticity and transparency in the entire episode of the alleged occurrence and investigation of the case. The motive or modus operandi of the appellant was not established and there was no clinching evidence to substantiate the case of the prosecution.
Contrary to these submissions, the learned counsel of the Prosecution submitted that the appellants had failed to offer a plausible explanation. It was argued that the prosecution was able to firmly prove the demand and acceptance of the bribe by the appellants with the help of an admissible portion of the evidence and the corroboration offered by the oral evidence and other documentary evidence.
The Telangana High Court observed after considering all the oral and documentary evidence that the prosecution was not able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused persons had demanded the bribe from the complainant. The Case of Rakesh Kapoor v. the State of HP ((2012) 13 SCC 522) was referred to. Further, it was observed that the Investigation Officer had failed to collect all the necessary data, most specifically the Phone Call Details. Additionally, various other factors were mentioned by the court regarding the facts of the case.
The Telangana High Court had held that the prosecution was not able to prove beyond doubt the guilt of the accused persons. Therefore, after considering all the facts and evidence, the court had set aside the order given by the Trial Court. Thereby, both the Criminal Appeals were allowed. The conviction and sentence imposed against the accused person were set aside.
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