While denying pre-arrest bail to an assistant director of Gujarat State Land Development Nigam Ltd, Ramendrainh Kushvah, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday (11th February) made scathing remark against the corrupt practices of the bureaucrats.
The Bench of Justice R. M. Sareen, while hearing the pre-arrest bail filed by the Petitioner in connection with the alleged Khet Talavadi scheme (farm ponds) scam, remarked,
"Corruption has become a social menace and is very much rampant nowadays. It is like a termite or a poisonous snake (that) has penetrated deeply into our systems."
The matter before the Court
The petitioner – original accused No.1 preferred the instant application under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for anticipatory bail.
This case pertains to the case registered with ACB Police Station, Godhra vide C.R.No.08/2020 for the offences punishable under sections Section 13(1)(b) and 13(2) Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment), 2018.
As per the gist of the FIR and case of the prosecution, the petitioner (original Accused No.1) misused his official position and was involved in corrupt practice committed for the offences punishable under sections Section 13(1)(b) and 13(2) Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment), 2018.
Allegedly, the official income earned by the petitioner, as disclosed in IT returns, during check period is worth Rs.5,92,27,582/-, and considering deduction towards the expense, his illicit income in the nature of investment and property owned is worth Rs.3,71,23,208/-.
Thus, allegedly there is a rise in the income to the extent of 62.68% as compared to the source of official income.
APP submitted that considering the nature of gravity of accusation in the instant case, there is a specific role attributed against the present petitioner in the F.I.R. about involving in corrupt practice and having disproportionate assets.
It was also argued that there is every likelihood of petitioner having misused his official position by involving himself in purchase of the immovable property.
Noting that the F.I.R. in the matter came to be registered on 06th August 2020, however, till date the petitioner remained absconded and tried to avoid arrest and not found at his residence or office and also did not co-operate in the investigation, the Court said,
"The petitioner herein- Original Accused has submitted reply but there is no explanation about the known sources of income as against the payment made by investing in property purchased by the petitioner during the aforesaid check period."
The Court also observed that an analysis of the statement of said Bank Account reveals that the total official income earned by the petitioner in his official position during the aforesaid check period so deposited in the said Bank Account comes to around Rs.30,31,328/, however, only entry with regard to withdrawal is once for an amount of Rs.10,000/-.
To this, the Court said,
"In absence of any further withdrawal of any amount from the said Bank Account and no explanation being given by the petitioner in his reply regarding the daily expenses as well as the investment being done by the petitioner in the property purchased in the name of the wife more particularly properties situated at Bhid, Gwalior, M.P., Vadodara and Savali, raises presumption of illicit income."
The Court also noted the details of properties purchased by him and the connected irregularities in furnishing the details of the fund used and utilized was not explained by him appropriately.
Further, the Court said,
"In light of the factual details collected by the Investigating Officer during the course of investigation carried out so far and considering the overall facts and circumstances of the case, the custodial interrogation of the petitioner herein is necessary."
The Court also said that the importance of custodial interrogation in such nature of accusation becomes more necessary for verifying the actual nature of transaction as well as to unearth other transactions which may lead to the disclosure of relevant material, to bring home the charge.
Lastly, the Court noted that there is a strong prima facie case against the petitioner and considering the gravity of the offence, and thus, the Court was not inclined to release the petitioner on anticipatory bail.
Case title - Ramendrasinh Jaysinh Kushvah v. State Of Gujarat