Registration Of Other Cases Can't Be Sole Ground To Refuse Bail: Punjab & Haryana High Court Grants Relief To Retd Army Personnel In Fraud Case
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently granted bail to a retired army personnel, who had been imprisoned for nearly a year, holding that mere registration of other cases against the petitioner could not be taken as the sole material consideration for denying him bail.The court passed the above order in a petition filed under Section 439 of the CrPC, seeking grant of regular bail in an...
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently granted bail to a retired army personnel, who had been imprisoned for nearly a year, holding that mere registration of other cases against the petitioner could not be taken as the sole material consideration for denying him bail.
The court passed the above order in a petition filed under Section 439 of the CrPC, seeking grant of regular bail in an FIR registered under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 506 of IPC.
The allegations levelled against the petitioner in the FIR were that the complainant was defrauded by the son of the petitioner in collusion with few others and having approached the petitioner through one of the agents, threats of elimination were extended by the petitioner. It was alleged that the petitioner always remained privy to the acts done by the main accused persons who happen to be his son and daughter.
Senior Advocate Bipin Ghai, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that besides the allegations of having extended threats to the agents of the complainant, the only other thing to connect the petitioner with the alleged offence is the transfer of an amount of Rs.39 Lakhs from the saving bank account of his son to an account jointly maintained by the petitioner and his son.
He further submitted that the petitioner is a retired army personnel, is 59 years of age, has suffered incarceration for a period of almost one year and the trial is likely to take some time. He further submitted that even the charges have not been framed in the case so far. He relied on the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgement in Sanjay Chandra Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, reported as (2012) 1 SCC 40 wherein the Apex Court had held that:
“46.We are conscious of the fact that the accused are charged with economic offences of huge magnitude. We are also conscious of the fact that the offences alleged, if proved, may jeopardise the economy of the country. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the investigating agency has already completed the investigation and the charge sheet is already filed before the Special Judge, CBI, New Delhi. Therefore, their presence in the custody may not be necessary for further investigation. We are of the view that the appellants are entitled to the grant of bail pending trial on stringent conditions in order to ally the apprehension expressed by CBI.”
While opposing the prayer made in the petition, Mr. Rakesh Kumar Lakhra, the counsel for the complainant, submitted that the petitioner always remained in active connivance with the main accused i.e. his son and daughter who cheated the complainant party and obtained the huge amount of money amounting to Rs. 150 Crores through various channels pertaining to allotment of some construction work in the “National Security Guard” Campus at Manesar. He also submitted that the amount of Rs. 39 Lakhs which was deposited in the accounts of the petitioner is yet to be recovered and the bail applications of other co-accused have already been dismissed by this Court.
Finding substance in the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner, Justice Harsh Manuja, initially pointed out that even if the allegations levelled against the petitioner are taken at face value, the only thing against the petitioner is that he extended threats to the representative of the complainant.
“Furthermore during investigation it has been found by the investigating agency that a sum of Rs.39 Lakhs was deposited in three different accounts being maintained by the petitioner, and in this regard it can be found out from the paper book that out of the deposit of Rs.39 Lakhs which was shown by the investigating agency, having been deposited in the accounts of the petitioner, majority sum of Rs.31 Lakhs was deposited on which is prior to the date of alleged handing over of the cheques by the representative of the complainant to the son of the petitioner which apparently shows that the majority sum out of Rs.39 Lakhs was never related to the amount later handed over by the complainant to the son of the petitioner or his other family members for the purpose of obtaining work orders for carrying out the constructions of housing project in NSG Campus at Manesar,” Justice Manuja added.
Justice Manuja further pointed out that besides that, no other material was referred to by the State counsel, so as to connect the petitioner with the alleged offence.
With respect to the dismissal of bail applications filed by the other co-accused, Justice Manuja clarified that there have been specific and categoric allegations of active involvement against those accused persons who have allegedly connived with the petitioner's son and assisted him while opening the forged accounts and also while withdrawing huge amounts deposited therein, for settling of those funds obtained from the complainant.
Justice Manuja therefore held, "Thus dismissal of bail applications filed at the instance of those aforementioned co-accused cannot be treated to be fatal for considering the bail application of the petitioner on merits, against whom there is no such direct and categoric allegations of having assisted Parveen Yadav (petitioner's son) except for bald and vague allegations for knowing everything."
While allowing the petition and ordering the petitioner to be released on regular bail on his furnishing bail/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the concerned learned trial Court/Duty Magistrate, Justice Manuja declined to take the registration of other cases against the petitioner as the sole material consideration for the purpose of declining him the relief of bail, and held, "Above and beyond, the registration of other cases against the petitioner cannot be taken to be as the sole material consideration for the purpose of declining him the relief of bail. For the purpose of deciding the bail application in hand, the allegations levelled against the petitioner as levelled in the FIR in question have to be primarily seen and considered."
Reliance was placed on a decision made by the Supreme Court in case of Maulana Mohammed Amir Rashadi Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Another, reported as (2012) 2 SCC 382. Wherein it was held:
“10. It is not in dispute and highlighted that the second respondent is a sitting Member of Parliament facing several criminal cases. It is also not in dispute that most of the cases ended in acquittal for want of proper witnesses or pending trial. As observed by the High Court, merely on the basis of criminal antecedents, the claim of the second respondent cannot be rejected. In other words, it is the duty of the Court to find out the role of the accused in the case in which he has been charged and other circumstances such as possibility of fleeing away from the jurisdiction of the Court etc.”
Case Title: Kamal Singh vs. State of Haryana CRM-M-48825 of 2022
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (PH) 53