Special CBI Court In Mumbai Acquits Delhi Man Accused Of Demanding Rs. 30 Lakhs From Journalist For Favourable Order From Bombay High Court
A Special CBI Court in Mumbai presided over by Special Judge MR Purwar, recently acquitted Faraz Sultan Khan, a Delhi-based individual accused of demanding Rs. 30 lakhs from journalist Ketan Tirodkar. The demand was allegedly made for securing a favourable order from the Bombay High Court regarding a case under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in which Tirodkar...
A Special CBI Court in Mumbai presided over by Special Judge MR Purwar, recently acquitted Faraz Sultan Khan, a Delhi-based individual accused of demanding Rs. 30 lakhs from journalist Ketan Tirodkar.
The demand was allegedly made for securing a favourable order from the Bombay High Court regarding a case under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in which Tirodkar is implicated.
The court declared, "There is every doubt about the genuineness of the alleged conversation, transcription, collection of voice specimen, voice examination, and forensic voice examination report, as well as on the credibility of the complainant and other witnesses…it is crystal clear that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses lacks with the necessary assurance requires in a criminal trail. There is no corroboration to the testimony of complainant Ketan Tirodkar (PW-5). I am not inclined to accept uncorroborated version of complainant Ketan Tirodkar(PW-5) as his evidence is not inspiring confidence".
Khan was booked under Section 416 (Cheating by Personation) punishable under Section 419 r/w. Section 511 of IPC and Sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.
The case originated when journalist Ketan Tirodkar, facing charges under MCOCA, sought bail. He was granted bail but the order was challenged before the Bombay High Court. Tirodkar claimed that during his visit to Delhi in May 2006, Faraz Khan, presenting himself as the brother-in-law of a Delhi High Court judge, assured him of assistance. Khan allegedly claimed to have close connections with ministers in the Central government and promised a favourable outcome in Tirodkar's case. Subsequently, Khan allegedly demanded Rs. 30 lakh, two first-class flight tickets, and accommodation in a five-star hotel from Tirodkar.
In May 2006, Tirodkar, upon returning to Mumbai, alleged that Khan demanded the sum. Tirodkar then approached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), filing a written complaint against Khan's alleged extortion attempt. He revealed he had handed over cassettes of a telephonic recording where Khan reiterated the demand to a press reporter and gave another copy to his mother.
During the trial, the Investigating Officer, K Babu, testified that he was unaware of the authenticity of the cassette recovered from Tirodkar’s mother, leaving uncertainty about whether it was an original or a copy. He admitted to not inquiring about the originality of the cassettes seized from the press reporter and failed to ascertain if they were copies.
Babu disclosed that he had not questioned key individuals involved, including the complainant Ketan Tiroldkar and his mother, and the press reporter Jay Shirsath, regarding the existence of cassette copies. He conceded his inability to determine whether the cassette recording was made prior to the alleged incident or during the events in question. Babu acknowledged an omission in the charge-sheet, failing to specify when the cassettes were forwarded to the CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) and claimed no recollection of this crucial detail.
Babu admitted that statements from two individuals whose names emerged in the complainant's evidence, were not recorded by him. He also testified to not seizing the mobile phones allegedly used by the accused.
The court expressed serious doubts about the genuineness of the recorded conversation and overall credibility of Tirodkar's claims. The Judge expressed skepticism about the prosecution's evidence and the lapses in the investigation.
The court emphasized the lack of corroboration to Tirodkar's testimony, indicating that it failed to inspire confidence.
The court stated, "The entire case of the prosecution is reeling under great shadow of doubt and several thick clouds of doubt appear in the case of the prosecution." Thus, the court decided to give the benefit of doubt to the accused.
The court raised concerns about several serious lapses in the investigation, which, according to the judgment, went to the root of the matter.
Special Public Prosecutor PKB Gaikwad appeared for the CBI. Advocate Saeed Akhtar represented Faraz Sultan Khan.
Case no. – CBI Special Case No. 35 of 2008
Case Title – Central Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Mumbai v. Faraz Sultan Khan