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"DSP's Conduct Unknown To Law, Further Investigation Is Tainted": Madras High Court Quashes Forgery & Cheating Case

Upasana Sajeev
6 July 2022 5:45 AM GMT
DSPs Conduct Unknown To Law, Further Investigation Is Tainted: Madras High Court Quashes Forgery & Cheating Case
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The Madras High Court recently allowed an appeal for quashing criminal proceedings against one Francis Raja accused of forgery and cheating. The court made the order after raising suspicion about the manner in which the further investigation was conducted, especially by the Deputy Superintendent of Police.Justice Nirmal Kumar observed as under:"The act of the Deputy Superintendent...

The Madras High Court recently allowed an appeal for quashing criminal proceedings against one Francis Raja accused of forgery and cheating. The court made the order after raising suspicion about the manner in which the further investigation was conducted, especially by the Deputy Superintendent of Police.

Justice Nirmal Kumar observed as under:
"The act of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Periyanaickenpalayam Sub Division, Coimbatore is not acceptable and it is abuse of process of law. Earlier, the 2nd respondent filed a petition before the Labour Court seeking identical relief, which was negatived. Thereafter, the present cause of action initiated, which is not acceptable, proper and that cannot be approved."
In the present case, the petitioner was employed as Machine Operator in the 2nd respondent company M/s.Micro Electric Controls. It was alleged that on 29.07.1998, the petitioner gave a resignation letter to the 2nd respondent company saying that he was unable to continue work. On 30.07.1998, the petitioner's dues were stated to have been settled and he was relieved from the service.
However, the petitioner filed a case before the Labour Court, Coimbatore stating that the signature in the resignation letter is a forged one. He claimed that he used to sign without any line, while the signature in the resignation letter had a line under it. The same was disposed of in favour of the petitioner. A series of litigation followed challenging the appeal, and all ended in favour of the petitioner.
The petitioner then filed a petition in the labour court seeking arrears of his wages and to comply with the order of the court, which was allowed. In the meanwhile, an application filed by the respondent company for sending documents for forensic examination was dismissed.
The company had also filed an FIR against the petitioner in 2003 for offences under sections 457 and 420 of the IPC. The same was closed in 2004 as a mistake of fact as the company failed to produce the original resignation letter. After the proceedings before the Labour Court and the High Court, the company obtained the original resignation letter and filed a petition for further investigation under Section 173(8) CrPC before the Trial Court. The Trial Court informed the company that the case records were destroyed in 2006. The company then filed another petition for the reconstruction of records. Both the applications were allowed by the Trial Court. On further investigation, the documents were sent for forensic examination wherein the experts confirmed that the signature in the resignation letter was that of the petitioner. Accordingly, the police filed a final report stating that the petitioner had committed forgery and cheating. Finding a prima facie case, the trial court took the case on file against which the present quash petition was filed.
The court observed a lot of defects in the manner in which further investigation was carried out. The police had conducted preliminary enquiry even before an order of reconstruction and further investigation was passed. The order was passed on 06.02.2013 and was communicated to the police only on 19.06.2014. However, the Forensic Department acknowledged the receipt of the documents as early as on 27.11.2012 and the report of the Forensic Department was dated 09.04.2012.
The court also observed that the fee for the examination of documents was paid by the Deputy Superintendent of Police which was not the usual procedure. It was also noted that no specimen signature was obtained from the petitioner and the Forensic Report was silent with respect to the comparison of the underline in the signature, which was the crux of the case. The court, therefore, opined that no case could be made out from the Forensic Report as the same was made without any study on the underline of the signatures.
The court observed that the Trial Court ought to have noted the manner in which the Deputy Superintendent of Police had carried out the investigation when the case had already been closed as a mistake of fact. Finding that the act of the Deputy Superintendent of Police was not in a manner known to the law, the court remarked that the entire further investigation was a tainted and coloured one. The court thus ordered for quashing of the proceedings before the Judicial Magistrate.
Case Title: G.Francis Raja v. State and another
Case No: Crl. O.P. No.21458 of 2018
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 284
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr M.Mohammed Riyaz for Mr.A.Deivasigamani
Counsel for the Respondent: Mr.A.Damodaran, Additional Public Prosecutor (R1) Mr M.Palanivel for Mr.K.Thilageswaran (R2)
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