Karnataka High Court ruling emphasizes the need for direct evidence in Corruption Allegations
Mr Yashwanth vs State Of Karnataka
18 May, 2023
Bench: Hon’ble K.Natarajan
The complainant, a retired Under Secretary named Shivashankar, filed a complaint stating that he purchased a piece of land but faced disputes regarding its ownership. He sought police protection to put up a board on the land, but the police allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs.10,00,000 for providing the protection.
The complainant further claimed that he paid Rs.2,00,000 to the petitioner on two occasions, with the remaining Rs.6,00,000 pending. However, he approached the police when he refused to pay the remaining amount, leading to the registration of an FIR and a trap being set up. Accused No.2, a police constable, was caught accepting the cash during the trap.
The petitioner, in his defense, denies any involvement in the bribery and asserts that he was not present at the police station during the alleged demand or acceptance. It is argued that there is no direct evidence of the petitioner’s involvement, as there is no telephonic conversation between the petitioner and the complainant. Additionally, it is contended that the complaint was filed after a considerable delay and does not comply with the requirements of Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (P.C. Act), which mandates filing a complaint within seven days of the alleged demand.
The respondent, representing the prosecution, argues that accused No.2 had a telephone conversation with the complainant mentioning the demand made by the petitioner. They contend that there was demand and acceptance of a bribe by accused No.2 on behalf of the petitioner, necessitating further investigation.
After considering the arguments and examining the records, the court notes that there is no direct telephonic conversation or evidence of demand and acceptance between the petitioner and the complainant. It is also observed that the petitioner was not present at the police station during the alleged bribery incident, as he was engaged in an investigation outside the station. The court refers to previous judgments and emphasizes that demand and acceptance are essential elements for registering a case under the P.C. Act. It also highlights that the complaint was filed after a significant delay, beyond the seven-day period stipulated by Section 8 of the P.C. Act.
Based on these considerations, the court concludes that there is no evidence of demand and acceptance by the petitioner and that further proceedings against the petitioner would be an abuse of the legal process. It cites precedents where similar cases were quashed and miscarriage of justice was avoided. Therefore, the court grants the petitioner’s request to quash the FIR and dismisses the criminal proceedings.
The above case highlights the importance of establishing a clear and direct link between the accused and the alleged demand and acceptance of bribes in corruption cases. The court emphasized that mere circumstantial evidence and lack of direct communication between the petitioner and the complainant cannot be sufficient grounds for prosecution. It underscores the need for proper investigation and adherence to legal requirements, such as timely filing of complaints, to ensure fair and just proceedings in corruption cases. The judgment serves as a precedent for quashing FIRs and criminal proceedings when there is a lack of substantial evidence supporting the allegations of bribery.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SHREEYA S SHEKAR