A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday held that indulgence in 'sting operation' purportedly in public interest does not extinguish criminal liability of an individual.
The bench comprising Justices Suvra Ghosh and Joymalya Bagchi said,
"Indulging in 'sting operation' purportedly in public interest does not immunize an individual from criminal liability, more so, when materials collected in the course of investigation show the activities of the petitioners do not appear to be so altruistic as contended but portends of blackmail and extortion." Reliance was placed on Rajat Prasad v. CBI, (2014) 6 SCC 495.
With these observations, the court rejected the anticipatory bail application in a case for impersonation, forgery and cheating.
The allegation was that the Petitioners-accused had impersonated themselves as businessmen to enter into a commercial transaction with the complainant, and to exploit his political connections. It was further alleged that a deep rooted conspiracy had been engineered to extort politicians by luring them with women and money.
The court rejected the Petitioner's explanation that they were only conducting bona fide sting operation to unravel corruption.
Stating that the matter involved "much more serious offence" than what was portrayed in the FIR, the court held that police is at liberty to add graver offences if revealed, during course of investigation. It said,
"When an ongoing investigation gives rise to graver offences it is open to the investigating agency to add such graver offences at the appropriate stage of the proceeding. However, in the light of sufficient incriminating materials on record disclosing such offences, we are not inclined to restrict our attention only to the allegations in the F.I.R. which needless to mention is merely the tip of a much bigger crime."
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