A bail application was filed in connection to a scholarship scam against Swami Pooranand College of Technical Education (“the institution), social welfare department and other unknown persons. The informant was appointed as a member of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and after inquiry, has lodged an FIR against the above parties.
Briefly stated, the facts of the case are that a list of 61 students was sent by the Institution to the Social Welfare Department for the scholarship of these students. The Social Welfare Department approved only 50 students for the said scholarship. It was stated in the FIR that the Distribution of Scholarship had been illegally shown by the institution whereas no education had been taken in this institution by the related students. Embezzlement of Rs. 14,88,500/- was found.
The learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant is innocent and has been falsely implicated in the case. He is a disciple of Swami Pooranand and used to visit the Ashram only for religious purposes. He agreed to look after the accounts of the trust for purely charitable purposes. The affairs of the trust were not confined only to the accounts of the institution and there were various other sources of income and expenses. The other co-accused i.e. the principal of the institution and officer of the Social Welfare Department has been granted bail by the High Court and since the applicant has no criminal history, he should also be granted bail by this Hon’ble High Court.
The learned counsel for the state submitted that the applicant is the manager/ secretary of the trust had sent a fake list of SC/ ST candidates for obtaining the scholarship from the Social Welfare Department. During the investigation, the SC/ ST candidates stated that they had never taken admission in the said institution and their statements were recorded under section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. After obtaining the scholarship amount in the name of the students on the forged list, a small sum was paid to them and the remaining amount was retained in the trust fund of the institution.
The State of Uttarakhand issued Government Order dated 28.06.2006 and Government Order dated 25.07.2006, whereby the process of scholarship had been fixed to be given by the Department of Social Welfare to the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes and Minority Classes. These scholarships are given to encourage the parents from these Classes to send their wards to schools and colleges, and to ensure that education is not denied due to the poor financial condition of their families. The object of this scholarship scheme is to support the parents of these Classes for educating their wards. This scheme is collectively funded by the Central and the State Governments.
The Court listed down factors to be taken into account while considering an Application for Bail
The factors to be taken care of are:
Whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence
Nature and gravity of the charge
Severity of the punishment in the event of conviction
Danger of the accused absconding or fleeing
Position and standing of the accused
Likelihood of the offence being repeated
Reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with
Danger of justice being thwarted by grant of bail
In dealing with an application for bail, both the seriousness and severity of the charge should be taken into account and there is a need to indicate in the order, the reasons for the bail being granted. The court cited the judgement of State of U.P. vs. Amarmani Tripathi. In Niranjan Hem Chandra Sashittal Vs. State of Maharashtra, (2013) the Hon’ble Apex Court observed that corruption is not to be judged by degree, for corruption mothers disorder, destroys society’s will to progress, accelerates undeserved ambitions, kills the conscience, jettisons the glory of the institutions, paralyses the economic health of a country, corrodes the sense of civility and mars the marrows of governance.
The Hon’ble Apex Court further observed that immoral acquisition of wealth destroys the energy of the people believing in honesty, and history records with agony how they have suffered and the only redeeming fact is that collective sensibility respects such suffering as it is in consonance with constitutional morality. The emphasis was on intolerance to any kind of corruption bereft of its degree.
In Nimmagadda Prasad Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation 2014, the Hon’ble Apex Court observed, unfortunately, in the last few years, the country has been seeing an alarming rise in white-collar crimes, which has affected the fiber of the country’s economic structure. In controvertibly, economic offences have serious repercussions on the development of the country as a whole.
After taking the above decisions into account, the court came to the conclusion that the role of the applicant is not at par with those of the co-accused. From the perusal of the evidence collected, it appeared that the applicant was involved in the scam. The court stated that there is no force in the submissions of the counsel for the applicant and no good ground had been made for enlarging the applicant on bail at this stage. The bail application was, therefore, rejected.
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