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Online fraud involving cyber-crime is on enormous rise in the country and court not inclined to grant bail: High Court of Chhattisgarh

Crimes like forgery and fraud have always been very serious non-bailable offences in India. However in recent times these offences have become much more worrying as they are been conducted through electronic means, it is therefore necessary that strict and prompt action be taken against such offences to keep India safe in these times. This issue was addressed in the case of Vijay Bijoy Majumdar v. State of Chhattisgarh [MCRC No. 2836 of 2021] by a single member bench of High Court of Chhattisgarh consisting of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra on 14th July 2021.

The applicants Vijay Bijoy Majumdar, Devashish Mistri and Raja Khan allegedly belong to SSR Industries and induced the complainant Shailesh Kachhwaha by calling him and repeatedly sending him messages on his mobile number assuring him of establishing a mobile tower of Airtel Company on his land. Through multiple instalments they obtained different amounts from him and since November 2020, they made a total sum of Rs 39,00,000 from the complainant. The applicants were arrested in connection with crime no. 79/2021 registered at Police Station in Champa under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code for forgery for purpose of cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property and forgery of valuable security.

The state counsel contended that the applicants posed themselves as agents of the Airtel Company, however no payment has been made over to Airtel Compnay from the 39 lakhs obtained from the complainant. The applicants prayed for bail under Section 439 of the Cr.P.C and stated that they were agents of Airtel Company and not the beneficiary of the money obtained from the complainant. However they failed to produce any kind of documents to the court showing them to have any kind of contract or arrangement with Airtel Company or to prove they had the authorisation to obtain payment for the establishment of a mobile tower. The state counsel responded that the facts and evidence clearly pointed to fraud and so they should not be entitled to be released on bail.

Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra observed that “Having heard learned counsel for the parties, it appears the applicants have obtained payment of Rs.39 lakhs from the complainant by falsely assuring him of erecting a mobile tower on his land. The applicants are not the agents of the Airtel Company. No such document has been produced by the applicants showing their contract/arrangement with Airtel Company authorizing them to obtain payment for establishing a mobile tower”. It was concluded that Online Fraud involving Cyber-Crimes was on enormous rise in the country and considering the facts of the case, the court was not inclined to release the applicants on bail. Consequently the bail application was rejected.

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