The demand of illegal gratification is sine qua non to constitute the offence and mere recovery of currency notes cannot constitute the offence under Section 7 : The High Court of Chhattisgarh

In a case of illegal gratification, there are three essential ingredients to constitute the offence. They are (i) demand, (ii) acceptance and (iii) recovery.  The aforesaid has been established by the High Court of Chhattisgarh while adjudicating the case of Bhimendra Kumar Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh [Criminal Appeal No.1367 of 2019] which was decided upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice Arvind Singh Chandel on 18th October 2021.

The brief facts of the case are as follows. Complainant Devendra Kumar Choudhary (PW1) had not supported the case of the prosecution and turned hostile. With regard to the initial demand also, he has not supported the case of the prosecution. The transcription (Ex.P4) also does not contain any demand of bribe. Therefore, the initial demand was not established. With regard to demand of bribe at the time of trap also, no shadow witness is available in this case. Complainant Devendra Kumar Choudhary (PW1) himself had not supported the case of the prosecution on this point also. The transcription 15does not show that at the time of trap also, the Appellant made any demand for bribe from the Complainant. From the evidence adduced by the prosecution, it is clear that in the personal search of the Appellant, no tainted money was recovered from him. The tainted money was recovered from the drawer of the table. As per the statement of Complainant Devendra Kumar Choudhary (PW1), he had kept the tainted money in the drawer of the table without the knowledge of the Appellant. On being told by this witness that the tainted money was kept in the drawer of the table, the Appellant, after being pressurised by the Anti-Corruption Bureau officials, took out the tainted money from the said drawer of the table and handed over the same to them.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It was hence of the opinion that “if on dipping of the hands of the Appellant in a solution of sodium carbonate colour of that solution turned into pink, that does not help the case of the prosecution. Thus, from the entire evidence adduced by the prosecution in this case, in my considered view, both demand and acceptance of bribe money are not proved. Therefore, conviction of the Appellant is not sustainable. He is entitled to get benefit of doubt. 18. In the result, the appeal is allowed. The conviction and sentence imposed upon the Appellant are set aside and he is acquitted of all the charges framed against him.”

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Judgment reviewed by Aryan Bajaj

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