V. SEJAPPA Vs. THE STATE BY POLICE INSPECTOR LOKAYUKTA, CHITRADURGA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KARNATAKA)
The State By Police Inspector Lokayukta, Chitradurga
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(1.) This appeal impugns the order dated 05.02.2008 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Criminal Appeal No.851 of 2002, allowing the appeal filed by the State, thereby setting aside the order of acquittal passed by the trial court. The High Court held the appellant-accused guilty of the offences punishable under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
(2.) Complainant-N.Ramakrishnappa (PW-1) retired as Special Grade Junior Engineer, Well Boring Sub-Division of Department of Public Health Engineering at Chitradurga. The complainant received his service benefits such as group insurance amount, medical reimbursement, GPF on 10.11.1997 and 14.11.1997 except D.C.R.G. and leave encashment benefits. The accused was then the Assistant Executive Engineer of the same Well Boring Sub-Division of Public Health Engineering at Chitradurga. On 16.12.1997, PW-1-complainant made an oral complaint before Police Inspector of Lokayukta, Chitradurga alleging that on 09.12.1997, the accused demanded a sum of Rs.5,000/- as illegal gratification from him for handing over 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) to process his pension papers and other retiral benefits. Based on the said complaint, PW-12-Police Inspector of Lokayukta registered FIR in Crime No.6/97 against the appellant for the offences punishable under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. PW-12 made arrangement to lay a trap of the accused on 17.12.1997. On 17.12.1997 at about 10.15-10.25 a.m., the raiding party consisting of the complainant-N.Ramakrishnappa (PW-1) along with Obaiah (PW-2) and R. V. Srinivasa (PW-3) went to the office of the accused. The raiding party and PW-3 were waiting outside the office. PW-1 and PW-2 went to the office and the accused is alleged to have demanded Rs.5,000/- from PW-1 and PW-1 gave tainted currency note of Rs.5,000/- and the accused received the money and kept it in a diary and the diary was kept inside his table.
On receiving signal from PW-1, the raiding party went to the office of the accused and questioned the accused and recovered the amount of Rs.5,000/- from the accused. The accused also tested positive when his right hand was immersed in the sodium carbonate solution. After obtaining necessary sanction from the government and on completion of investigation, a chargesheet was filed against the accused for the offences as above mentioned.
(3.) In order to establish the guilt of the accused, prosecution examined twelve witnesses and exhibited documents Ex.P1 to Ex.P34 and marked material objects-M.Os.1 to 18. Appellant-accused was questioned about the incriminating evidence and circumstances under Section 313 Cr.P.C. The accused denied the demand and pleaded that on 09.12.1997, he was at Bangalore on official duty and a false case was foisted against him. The accused has produced documents Exs.D1 to D8. Upon consideration of the evidence, the trial court held that the prosecution has failed to prove the demand and acceptance of illegal gratification of Rs.5,000/- by the accused from PW-1 for issuing 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) for settlement of his retiral benefits.
The trial court also held that in Ex.P31-Sanction Order issued by PW-8-S.Sampath, Under Secretary to Government, Public Works Department, there is no reference to the documents referred to by the authority for the purpose of granting sanction to prosecute the accused and held that there was no valid sanction to prosecute the accused and thus acquitted the accused of all the charges.;
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