The Karnataka High Court has said filing of a common charge-sheet for complaints filed by the individual investors against the same accused in different police stations is against the law and filing amalgamated charge-sheet is impermissible under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
A single bench of Justice K Natarajan held :
"The State-C.I.D. Police have no authority to file a common charge-sheet in different complaints. However, the Investigating Officer has to file a separate charge sheet against each crime registered by the Police on individual complaint. Thereafter, the Special Court shall take cognizance of the offences both punishable under the IPC and the Special Act by following the Cr.P.C. and dispose of the matter in accordance with law."
The court relied on the order to Delhi High Court in the case of STATE v. KHIMJI BHAI JADEJA (Crl. Ref. No.1 of 2014 dated 8-7-2019) which had considered the judgments of various High Courts as well as Supreme Court and held that filing an amalgamated charge-sheet is impermissible.
It said "The offences which are similar in nature committed by the same accused within twelve months can be tried together by framing a common charge as per Section 219 of the Cr.P.C, but the question of filing a common charge-sheet in multiple crimes or complaints is impermissible."
The CID had moved the court challenging an order dated 8-8-2016 passed by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Mysuru, for having rejected the charge-sheet filed by the Police Inspector, Financial and Vigilance Unit, C.I.D.
Justice Nataranjan also set aside the order of the special court discharging the accused Greenbuds Agro Farms Limited Company and accused Nos.2 to 5 are the Managing Directors and Directors of the said Company, alleged of duping investors.
The court had rejected the charge-sheet filed under the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act, 2004, on the ground that the Police Inspector is not the Competent Officer to file the report or for taking action and hence, the accused were discharged for the offence punishable under Section 9 of the Act. However, liberty was granted to the Investigating Officer to file a charge-sheet before the jurisdictional Magistrate for the offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
The court said "Though the Trial Court rightly refused to accept the charge-sheet, but committed an error in discharging the accused and directing the Investigating Officer to file the charge-sheet before the jurisdictional Magistrate. Once the Special Court is established, the question of discharging the accused for the reasons that the charge-sheet is filed by incompetent Investigating Officer does not arise. The Trial Court misread the provisions of the Special Act and has not considered Section 4 of the Cr.P.C."
It added "As per Section 4(2) of the Cr.P.C., all offences under any other law shall be investigated, inquired into, tried and otherwise dealt with according to the same provisions, but subject to any enactment for the time being in force regulating the manner or place of investigating, inquiring into, trying or otherwise dealing with such offences. Such being the case, bifurcating the offences punishable under IPC and Special Law is not correct. Both the offences are required to be tried together by the Special Court established under the Act."
The court while quashing the order of the special court directed "Further, the Special Court is directed to return the charge-sheet to the Investigating Officer in order to file separate charge-sheet in respect of each individual complaint and thereafter, the Trial Court shall proceed in accordance with law."