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Mere relation with accused cannot be ground for conviction under offences of Corruption: High Court of Delhi

When court has to decide whether an officer is liable to be charged under laws of corruption for committing bribery, it cannot base its decision merely on a presumption because there has been some sort of acquaintance between the accused and the officer. This was decided in the case of Mohit Dhawan Vs. Rakesh Asthana & Ors [W.P.(CRL) 321/2021] in The High Court Of Delhi by Hon’ble  Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

The facts of the case are that a lady from USA, had approached petitioner for her dental ailments & decided to visit petitioner’s clinic for her treatment. On the recommendation of this lady, Gertrude (complainant in this case) decided to visit the petitioner’s clinic for their treatment together. The complainant initiated a conversation with the petitioner via e-mails regarding the queries of her ailment. Petitioner asked the complainant to send her medical/dental record, X-rays & CBCT records wherein the complainant showed her inclination for getting the implant for her upper jaw. The petitioner sent medical questionnaire to the complainant via email and the same was filled by the complainant. Finally, the complainant was successfully operated for dental implants. It is the case of the petitioner that the complainant tendered a cheque. The complainant refused to make payment as agreed on the pretext that she was having relations to high profile person. The complainant made a complaint against the petitioner and on receipt of the same as alleged; various officers from Police Station, Chandigarh approached the petitioner. In the petition, there are allegations against the then DGP, DSP and other subordinate officers of Chandigarh Police apart from the allegations against the respondent.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the complainant and the police officers of the Chandigarh police station disclosed the name of respondent No.1 and harassed the petitioner to extort the amount. He further contended that since there are allegations of anti-corruption against the respondent, therefore, he did not file the petition under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C. for registration of FIR against the Respondent, as it is not maintainable.

The court observed that it is the presumption of the petitioner that since respondent is known to the complainant, he might have influenced the police officers and authorities, due to which the petitioner was harassed and threatened. If it is presumed that the complainant is known to the respondent and if something wrong has happened with her and respondent had suggested her to take appropriate action in that eventuality, the respondent has not committed any offence. If the said respondent had misused his power being an officer of CBI, then certainly action is warranted against the said respondent.

The court observed that It is not in dispute that when complainant was not satisfied, she did not pay the full amount and thereafter, when she developed problems with her implants as mentioned in her complaint, she made a complaint asking for the refund of money paid by her. The court further said “without commenting much on the fact that the petitioner filed petition after petition even up to the level of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the same was dismissed as withdrawn, I am of the view as per the complaint no action is warranted upon respondent No.1 and the petition seems to be motivated due to some vindictive purpose”.

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