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If the entire evidence produced by the prosecution is to be believed, it constitute an offence: High Court of Delhi

At the initial stage of framing of a charge, the court is concerned not with proof but with a strong suspicion that the accused has committed an offence, which, if put to trial, could prove him guilty. All that the court has to see is that the material on record and the facts would be compatible with the innocence of the accused or not. The final test of guilt is not to be applied at that stage. This was held in the case of Mandeep Gandhi v State NCT of Delhi, [CRL.M.C. 346/2017 & Crl.M.A. 1487/2017] by Hon’ble Justice Suresh Kumar Kait in the High Court of Delhi.

The complainant filed a complaint t at Special Cell, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi regarding skimming and counterfeiting of credit card suspecting that a few shopkeepers had colluded with the criminals, which is causing loss to the bank as well as genuine card holders. On his complaint, FIR under Sections 419/420/467/468/471/120B IPC was registered at Special Cell, New Delhi. Petitioner- Mandeep Gandhi, who was running a shop in the name of M/S M.G.Electronics at Madangir, Delhi was arrested on 03.03.2003. The allegations against him are of permitting use of fake credit cards and taking 30% share of the billing amount. . It is alleged that petitioner got an amount of Rs.13,000/- in the said transaction. It is further alleged that Mayank Garg signed on the charge slip and bill as R.B.Santosh Kumar, while petitioner- Mandeep Gandhi also signed on the bill prepared by him. Prosecution has alleged that petitioner was in regular touch with Lalit Chand Verma through his mobile phone, who was a middleman to Mayank Garg, who was involved in the illegal use of cloned credit card.

The counsel for petitioner assailed the impugned order by stating that against his arrest, petitioner had made an application to the appropriate authority for conducting a vigilance enquiry in relation to how petitioner is associated with the present case and after filing of charge sheet, he had also preferred an application before the trial court for summoning the aforesaid vigilance enquiry, but it was erroneously dismissed by the trial court observing that petitioner can take benefit of the aforesaid report at the stage of defence. The learned trial court without adverting to the role assigned to each of the accused in the alleged crime, has mechanically passed the impugned order on charge stating that prima facie offences are made out against all the accused. Learned Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that petitioner along with co-accused entered into a well designed criminal conspiracy and permitted use of cloned cards at his shop for his personal gains and recoveries made at his instance are subject to scrutiny during trial and does not call for any interference at this stage.

The Court placed reliance on the case of State of Maharashtra vs. Salman Salim Khan and Anr., (2004) 1 SCC 525 and stated that the truthfulness, the sufficiency and acceptability of the material produced at the time of framing of charge can be done only at the stage of trial. The petition was accordingly dismissed.

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