In the case of Umesh Kumar Sharma Vs State of Uttarakhand and another, Mr. Justice Maithani directed CBI to file FIR on the basis of para 8 of the petition in WP CRL no. 1187 of 2020, a case of corruption.
Facts of the case
This case is not a single case against the Petitioner. In fact, there are a series of cases against him. The present petition shows allegations by one Amratesh Singh Chauhan (ASC) against corruption by CM TS Rawat. ASC conducted a sting operation with regard to illegal gratification being taken by close relatives of the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.
It was alleged that one Amritesh Chauhan from Jharkhand had deposited money after demonetization into the bank account of Harendra Singh Rawat and his wife Savita Rawat for the personal benefit of TSRCM. The allegations against the petitioner were that he gave false statements about depositing any money, in the account of the informant Harendra Singh Rawat and his family members, etc., and that the wife of the informant is the real elder sister of the wife of TSRCM.
After this, the FIR [No. 265 of 2020] was filed by Informant for booking the Petitioner for cheating, forgery, conspiracy, and allied offenses.
Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the social media publication done by the petitioner is not new. In fact, Amratesh Singh Chauhan revealed it to a journalist, Rajesh Sharma, and he revealed it to the petitioner. The statement of depositing any amount in the account of the first informant and that the wife of the first informant is the real sister of the wife of TSRCM, if false, maybe at the most a case for defamation, for which only a complaint can be filed and no FIR can be registered. It was also submitted by the learned senior counsel that the Procedure adopted on the communication dated 07.07.2020 was not in accordance with the law. Counsel referred the case of Lalita Kumari, if communication did not reveal any cognizable offense, the principle laid down in the case does not permit such inquiry as has been conducted in the instant case. It was argued that the FIR dated 31.07.2020 is, in fact, the statement under Section 162 of the Code and it is not an FIR. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner argued that the entire process is malafide since inception.
Learned Senior Counsel for the State submitted that petitioner is not a Journalist. Reference was made to FIR No. 100 of 2018 and FIR No. 354 of 2018. Investigation cannot be stopped in a proceeding under Section 482 of the Code on the basis of statements of the petitioner being innocent. Reading section 415 of IPC it was argued that social media publication by petitioner was full of mens rea as he forged all the bank receipts by himself and that prosecution against the petitioner is not malicious, referred to the judgment in case of State of Bihar and another Vs. P.P. Sharma and another, 1992 Supp. 1 SCC 222, para 22.
Learned Counsel on behalf of the informant, adopted the arguments as advanced on behalf of the State, and submitted that the petitioner, in the social media publication claimed that money was deposited in the account of the informant, which means the same had been forged and fabricated by the petitioner.
The Court held that allegations against the petitioner don’t prima facie make a case. The procedure adopted on 7.07.2020 is not in accordance with the law, the allegation in the FIR could have been further investigated, registration of instant FIR is not permissible under law, communications on 7.10.2020 and the inquiry with the lodging of instant FIR, all together are actuated by mala fide.
Accordingly, FIR No. 265 of 2020 was quashed, and SP, CBI Dehradun was directed to register an FIR on the basis of para 8 of the petition in WP CRL no. 1187 of 2020. The entire paper-book has to be sent to SP, CBI Dehradun through email and hardcopy, same is to be done by Learned counsel for the petitioner. Accordingly, all three petitions were allowed.
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