Title: Ambadas s/o Ramaji Sahare v. State of Maharashtra
Decided on: 22.08.2023
+ CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.610 OF 2004
CORAM: KISHORE C. SANT, J
Facts of the Case:
The appellant (accused) has challenged judgment and order of conviction and sentence under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, dated 13.9.2004 .
Damodhar Nathuji Dhurve, the Informant, owned few acres of land on which were teak-wood trees. He needed permission of the Forest Dept. to cut those trees and for such permission, he was in need of 7/12 extract, map, and certificate from Talathi and, therefore, he approached to the office of the accused for obtaining the above said documents. He intimated the purpose of his visit to the office of the accused and requested the documents. The accused allegedly asked him to give Rs.300 for those documents. The informant tried to negotiate with him the amount, but when he did not agree, the informant approached ACB and through a trap designed by ACB the accused was caught. He was later convicted for offences mentioned above and this was challenged by him.
Whether the prosecution has proved the demand and acceptance of the bribe by the accused from the informant and whether interference is called for in the judgment and order of conviction impugned.
The appellant claimed that amount Rs.224.45 was due against the informant towards the fees of reimbursement and the amount is paid towards the said fees. The accused also pointed out that the informant was involved in construction of a mosque illegally on the land of the gram panchayat. The demand is not proved. Mere recovery of the amount is not sufficient to prove the charges. Insofar as the demand and the acceptance are concerned, kotwal PW2 Maroti Kathane, who was working with the accused, has not supported. The sanction order is also not as per the requirement. The sanction order is invalid and, therefore, the conviction deserves to be set aside. The prosecution has also examined Kotwal PW3 Manohar Hikare, whose evidence shows that when he entered into the office of the accused, only the informant was present and except the informant no other person was present.
On the other hand, the Respondent supported the judgment and order of conviction passed by learned Special Judge and submitted that the prosecution has proved the demand and acceptance.
Court found that the prior demand by the accused is not proved by the prosecution, a doubt is created as to demand of the amount as a gratification as the admission given by shadow pancha PW4 Dilip Ganvir shows that the accused has communicated to informant PW1 Damodar Dhurve that the amount is towards fees and also asked the informant to take receipts and asked him to sit for taking such receipts. These admissions sufficiently create doubt as to the prosecution case .
The appeal was allowed. The impugned order was set aside and the appellant was acquitted of the charges.
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Written by- Aparna Gupta, University Law College & Dept. of Studies in Law