PUBLIC PROSECUTOR Vs. P.V. AUDINARAYANA CHETTY
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
P.V. Audinarayana Chetty
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Ramaswami, J. -
(1.) THIS is an appeal preferred against the acquittal by the learned Sessions Judge of Chittoor division, Mr. M. A. Azeem reversing the conviction under Section 161, Penal Code (i.e. receiving illegal gratification by a Supervisor of Highways) and sentence of one year's rigorous imprisonment awarded by the learned Assistant Sessions Judge of Chittoor division, Sri D. R. Venkatesa Aiyar, M. L., in S. C. No. 17 of 1950.
(2.) THE facts leading to the institution of this appeal are: The accused Sri P. V. Audinarayana Chetty was a Supervisor employed in the Highways Department, Madras State. His office was at Puttur and his actual place of residence was Tirupati. This accused who was the Supervisor of the Puttur section of the Highways Department of the Chittoor district is stated to have been regularly receiving bribes from contractors who did road maintenance work in that section. His 'modus operandi was as follows : He used to insist upon contractors agreeing to pay 5 per cent, of the bills, and which he later on raised to 10 per cent, and which sudden departure from the 'mamool created an active resentment and protest. Then he would check -measure the works and prepare bills for payment and either before or after the cheques were cashed by the contractor, the 'mamool' had to be paid. This 'modus operandi' and payments to him are spoken to, by P. Ws. 7, 11, 12 and 1, who arc all contractors working on this Puttur section. I shall now briefly summarise the evidence of these four contractors. 7. This is the evidence of the prosecution regarding the 'modus operandi' of the accused, the systematic toll levied by him and spoken to by the four contractors, P. W. 7 Muniswami Reddi P.W. 11 K. Sesha Pillai, P.W. 12 Purushotham Naicker and P. W. 1 Rangiah Naidu.
(3.) I have just now mentioned that Rangiah Naidu was being demanded in regard to 1949 -50 works 10 per cent, whereas the 'mamool', which was being paid was 5 per cent. This Rangiah Naidu P. W. 1 pleaded with the accused that the percentage should not be raised. On that, the accused told him that he was justified in raising his 'mamool' as the contractors had secured higher rates for these two works. Thereupon Rangiah Naidu pleaded that he had suffered losses and that he would pay the usual 5 per cent. Thereupon the accused pressed for immediate cash payment. Rangiah Naidu promised payment after cashing the cheque, with the mental reservation of naturally booking this accused because by that time the Madras State through the press and platform had been widely broadcasting - - a notorious fact of which judicial notice can be taken - - that in Republican India such 'mamools' should not be paid and citizens should come forward and help the authorities, that prompt investigations will be made and that those who rendered assistance to book these public leeches would be protected from being proceeded against as accomplices. Thereupon Rangiah Naidu arranged with the clerk in the P. W. D. office to give him a cheque on the Chittoor Imperial Bank for this contract standing in the name of Venkataraju after misleading the accused that he would take a cheque on the Chandragiri treasury. This bill for Rs. 5700 had already been sent to the Divisional Engineer at Chittoor. P. W. 1 cashed the cheque on 7 -7 -1949 and took his share as Sub -contractor, of Rs. 1904. Then both this P. W. 1 and Venkataraju went to the Collector of Chittoor and gave a complaint Ex. P. 1 in which it has been -narrated how this accused has been pressing for payment of high bribes of 10 per cent on the bill amounts and that he prepared bills only after a promise of payment of 5 per cent, and that it would be easy to catch him red -handed. Having apprised the authorities and setting in motion the forces of law and order to trap the accused this Rangiah Naidu P. W. 1 evaded meeting the accused who was naturally on his toes for getting his cut in the bill. This accused sent his peon Subbaraju once and maistry Isack (P. W. 5) at another time to fetch this P. W. 1. But Rangiah Naidu after cashing the cheque on 12 -7 -1949 for Rs. 5700 had gone home and made himself scarce to the supervisor. But on reaching home, maistry Doraiswami was in his house sent by the accused with a message to come and cough up the per centum, and P. W. 1 sent a soothing message that he (accused) need not worry himself and that he (P. W. 1) would stick by his undertaking and come and pay up. This increased pressure by the accused on this P. W. 1 Rangiah Naidu made him all the more energetic to book this supervisor. So he went to Chittoor but could not find the Divisional Engineer. Therefore, he went to Madras to complain to the Minister in charge of P. W. D. and finding that the Minister was on tour he went to the office of the Criminal Investigation Department. There he gave the complaint, Ex. P. 3 on the evening of 15 -7 -1949 at Madras to P. W. 15 Sri Y. Satyanarayana Choudhury, Deputy Superintendent of Police, C. I. D. This Ex. P. 3 mentions all the details of payment in 1948 -49 and the worry given by this Supervisor to the contractor for higher percentage and how this accused was waiting for payment in respect of the bill which had just been cashed. Thereupon P, W. 15, an officer of great experience and integrity in the service of the Madras State, set a trap for this accused.
P. W. 15 took three currency notes of Rs. 103 denomination from P. W. 1 who had them with him and then both of them left by car to Puttur. On learning at Puttur that the accused had gone to Tirupathi with the object of returning_ on the next day P. W. 15 and Rangiah Naidu went to Tirupathi from Pultur and stayed in the Travellers' bungalow at Tirupati on the night of 15 -7 -1949. The Deputy Superintendent of Police P. W. 15 instructed Rangiah Naidu to contact the accused at about 2 p.m. and gave the three marked currency notes to the accused when the latter was expected to go to the bus stand and then come round to the Deputy Superintendent of Police who had moved to the Devasthanam choultry and inform him of what had happened so that P. W. 15 and the panchayatdars could catch the Supervisor with the goods on him.;
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