The Rajasthan High Court has said that whether or not the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act can be invoked against a private person is a question that requires consideration.
Observing thus, it granted bail to a Chartered Accountant, who it held is not a public servant, booked under the Act after recovery of Rs. 2 lakhs.
Essentially, the applicant-petitioner was arrested in connection with an FIR registered at Police Station Pradhan Aarakshi Kendra, Anti Corruption Bureau, Rajasthan for the offence(s) under Section 7A of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120B of IPC. On account of certain reasons, he was allegedly removed from the services of the complainant, who was his client. The applicant-petitioner alleged that he has been falsely implicated in the case due to vindictiveness of the complainant.
The counsel for the petitioner-applicant submitted that the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is not applicable upon him as he is not a public servant. He further submitted that action qua the petitioner-applicant is premature. He added that no action upon him can be made out, specially when none of the public officials are implicated in the present matter or any proceedings/criminal action is contemplated against them. He also submitted that the applicant-petitioner has no criminal antecedents.
The respondent's counsel opposed the bail application and submitted that there is recovery of Rs.2 lakhs qua the petitioner/applicant which is more than enough to attract the provisions under Section 7A of the said Act.
Justice Sameer Jain, while granting bail to the applicant petitioner, observed,
"Considering the arguments advanced by the counsel for the parties and looking to the overall facts and circumstances of the case and material on record and without commenting on merits of the case, this court is of the view that applicant-petitioner is a Chartered Accountant and not a public servant. Thus provisions of PCA Act cannot be involved against a private person alone, is a question worth consideration. Further, the applicant-petitioner was rendering his professional services to the complainant two years prior from the date of occurrence and he has no criminal antecedents."
The court ordered that the accused-petitioner be enlarged on bail provided he furnishes a personal bond of Rs.50,000/- with two sureties of Rs.25,000/- each to the satisfaction of learned trial Judge for his appearance before the court concerned on all the dates of hearing as and when called upon to do so.
Adv. Anurag Sharma appeared for the petitioner while GA-cum-AAG Rajendra Yadav with PP Suresh Kumar appeared for the respondent.
Case Title: Puneet Mohnot v. State Of Rajasthan
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 201