The Gujarat High Court Bench comprising Justice Ashutosh Shastri recently dismissed an application seeking cancellation of bail while noting that there was no violation of any bail conditions or misuse of liberty could be made out against the accused persons.
There were 20 FIRs registered against the Accused persons for offences punishable under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471, 114, 34 and 120(B) of the IPC. The main accused person in these FIRs being the Vice-Chairman of the Shree Vikas Cooperative Bank Limited ('Applicant Bank') was accused of having sanctioned different loans for his relatives without proper security even as the relatives failed to repay the loan with interest in due time.
Subsequently, out of 15 Accused persons, 4 persons expired while the remaining Accused were granted anticipatory bail. The Applicant-Bank averred that the main Accused person was bound by the undertaking to deposit an amount of INR 1 lac per month while the other Accused persons were obligated to deposit an amount of INR 25,000 per month during the course of anticipatory bail.
The Court while granting bail had stated that the breach of such undertaking would result in the cancellation of bail. Yet, the Accused persons had stopped making any payment to the bank. This compelled the Applicant to file an application at the District Court and before the Co-ordinate Bench of the High Court. However, this application was rejected vide a common order which was being challenged before the instant bench of the Gujarat High Court.
Justice Shastri noted particularly that "without much resistance", the Applicant had "candidly submitted" that under almost similar circumstances, with respect to this offence, the Coordinate Bench of the High Court while examining the case of the other Accused persons had dismissed all applications for cancellation of bail. Per the Co-ordinate Bench, there was no misuse of liberty or breach of bail conditions such that it would invite cancellation of bail.
Further, one of the main Accused persons had repaid the entire amount for which the offence was registered which was not a disputed fact by either party. Hence, there was no reason to cancel his bail. While dismissing the applications, the Bench placed reliance on Myakala Dharmarajam & Ors., v. State of Telangana & Anr (2020) 2 SCC 743 and other cases to discuss the law on the issue of cancellation of bail. It was observed:
"…this Court held that bail can be cancelled where (i) the accused misuses his liberty by indulging in similar criminal activity, (ii) interferes with the course of investigation, (iii) attempts to tamper with evidence or witnesses, (iv) threatens witnesses or indulges in similar activities which would hamper smooth investigation, (v) there is likelihood of his fleeing to another country, (vi) attempts to make himself scarce by going underground or becoming unavailable to the investigating agency, (vii) attempts to place himself beyond the reach of his surety, etc. The above grounds are illustrative and not exhaustive."
Justice Shastri also noted the decision of the Apex Court in X vs State of Telangana and Anr:
"Very cogent and overwhelming circumstances are necessary for an order directing the cancellation of the bail, already granted."
Emphasising the absence of grounds for cancellation of bail, the High Court did not interfere with the order of the Co-ordinate Bench of the High Court and dismissed the applications.
Case Title: SHREE VIKAS CO.OP. BANK LTD, (LIQ.) THROUGH SUNIL LAXMANRAO POWLE Versus STATE OF GUJARAT & 2 other(s)
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 162