M.E. SHIVALINGAMURTHY Vs. CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, BENGALURU
LAWS(SC)-2020-1-19
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on January 07,2020

M.E. Shivalingamurthy Appellant
VERSUS
Central Bureau Of Investigation, Bengaluru Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

SREE RAMAKRISHNA MINING COMPANY V. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME-TAX,MYSORE [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR VS. SUDERSHAN CHAKKAR [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF ORISSA VS. DEBENDRA NATH PADHI [REFERRED TO]
P VIJAYAN VS. STATE OF KERALA [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

ROYDEN HAROLD BUTHELLO VS. STATE OF CHHATTISGARH [LAWS(CHH)-2021-9-6] [REFERRED TO]
KANWAL PRAKASH SINGH VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [LAWS(CAL)-2022-6-104] [REFERRED TO]
ASHA KUMARI VS. STATE OF JHARKHAND [LAWS(JHAR)-2020-6-42] [REFERRED TO]
VIKRAMJIT KAKATI VS. STATE OF ASSAM [LAWS(SC)-2022-8-18] [REFERRED TO]
SOHANVEER SINGH VS. STATE OF U. P. [LAWS(ALL)-2020-9-45] [REFERRED TO]
FIROJ ANSARI VS. STATE OF JHARKHAND [LAWS(JHAR)-2020-6-12] [REFERRED TO]
BABITA VS. STATE OF U.P [LAWS(ALL)-2021-2-152] [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF GUJARAT VS. AFROZ MOHMED HASANFATTA [LAWS(GJH)-2022-5-38] [REFERRED TO]
ANUP KUMAR LAKHOTIA VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(JHAR)-2021-12-4] [REFERRED TO]
RAHUL KUMAR VS. STATE OF JHARKHAND [LAWS(JHAR)-2020-6-6] [REFERRED TO]
RAN VIJAY THAKUR, VS. STATE OF JHARKHAND [LAWS(JHAR)-2020-6-7] [REFERRED TO]
BALKRISHNA DEVDA VS. STATE OF M.P. [LAWS(MPH)-2022-1-38] [REFERRED TO]
SIYARAM @ SHIVA RAM VS. STATE OF U.P. [LAWS(ALL)-2021-12-46] [REFERRED TO]
NAVED VS. STATE OF U.P. AND ORS. [LAWS(ALL)-2020-11-93] [REFERRED TO]
VIKAS ASTHANA VS. STATE OF U.P. [LAWS(ALL)-2022-5-86] [REFERRED TO]
MAHETA UMED KUMAR MANSUKHLAL VS. STATE OF GUJARAT [LAWS(GJH)-2021-8-119] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

K.M.JOSEPH,J. - (1.)The appeal is directed against the Order of the High Court setting aside the Order passed by the Magistrate allowing the application filed by the appellant to discharge him.
(2.)The charge-sheet came to be filed on the basis of a FIR dated 01.10.2011. The appellant was Director of Mines and Geology in the State of Karnataka at the relevant time. There was a partnership firm by the name M/s Associated Mineral Company ('AMC', for short). The offences are alleged to revolve around the affairs of the said firm. First accused is the husband of the second accused. They became partners of the firm (AMC) in 2009. Appellant was arrayed as the third accused. There was reference in the charge-sheet to a conspiracy between the first accused and the second accused. It is alleged, inter alia, that they obtained an undated letter from one Shri K.M. Vishwanath, the Ex-Partner, which is after his retirement with effect from 01.08.2009 from the firm, which was addressed to the appellant, seeking directions to the Deputy Director of Mines and Geology, Hospet in Karnataka to issue the Mineral Dispatch Permit ('MDP' for short) to the new partners, viz., the first accused and the second accused. It is further averred that the investigation revealed that the appellant marked the said letter to the Case Worker who put up the note seeking orders for referring the matter for legal opinion which was also approved and recommended by the Additional Director and put up to the appellant for orders. Appellant is alleged to have acted in pursuance to the criminal conspiracy and abused his official position with a dishonest and fraudulent intention to cheat the Government of Karnataka and knowingly made a false note in the file that he had discussed this matter with the Deputy Director (Legal) and directed Deputy Director, Mines and Geology, Hospet for issue of MDPs to the new partners, viz., the first accused and the second accused by violating Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act', for short) and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules', for short). There are various allegations regarding other accused. As far as appellant is concerned, it is alleged further in the charge-sheet that the acts of the accused, seven in number, including the third accused (appellant), constitutes criminal offences punishable under Sections 120B, 420, 379, 409, 447, 468, 471, 477A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as 'the IPC', for short) and Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. No doubt, the origin of this investigation is to be traced to an Order passed by this Court dated 29.03.2011 in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 7366-7367 of 2010 and connected matters ordering investigation into the illegalities into the matter of Mining Lease No. 2434 of AMC. The allegations include the allegation that the accused conspired to commit theft of Government property, i.e., mineral ore. They allegedly trespassed into the forest area and other areas of Bellary District: carried out illegal mining and transported it. Though, second accused (A2) to seventh accused(A7) filed applications under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as 'Cr.PC', for short) seeking discharge, by Order dated 08.10.2015, the Trial Court discharged the second accused and the appellant. It is this Order which has been set aside by the High Court by the impugned Order.
APPLICATION BY THE APPELLANT SEEKING DISCHARGE

(3.)It is, inter alia, stated as follows: Appellant is known for his honesty and dignity as a public servant. He earned his name as an excellent and honest Officer in all the places where he was posted. He was not issued a single article of charges while discharging his duties. Though, he started as a Member of the Karnataka State Civil Service, he was promoted to the Cadre of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as he had an impeccable service record. He was posted as Director of Mines in Geology, having regard to his service record. By virtue of the delegation under Section 26(2) of the Act, the execution of the lease deed lies with the Director of Mines and Geology. AMC was granted the Mining Lease by the State way back in 1966. The firm was reconstituted several times by inducting new partners and retiring old partners. As and when there is the reconstitution of the firm, the firm intimated to the Department of Geology of the reconstitution and conducted the mining operation in the name of AMC by the newly inducted partners. Though, several reconstitutions have taken place, no application has been filed under Rule 37 of the Rules for transfer of the lease on the ground that the assets, viz., the Mining Lease belongs to the firm and not to any individual partners. Therefore, there was no requirement of making an application under Rule 37 of the Rules seeking transfer of the Mining Lease. Records produced by the official before the Court reveal that the Department has understood that reconstitution did not amount to transfer as the partnership is the owner of the asset, viz., the Mining Lease. On inducting first and second accused, the reconstituted firm made application to Deputy Director seeking MDP by intimating that two new partners were inducted. The application was sent to the Director for issuance of MDP. In addition to the application filed to the Deputy Director seeking MDPs, Shri K.M. Vishwanath, Ex-Partner, representing the firm, made application to the Director, placing on record that firm had been reconstituted by inducting the first and the second accused and, accordingly, intimated under Rule 62 of the Rules. It is stated further that after receiving the application by the Department, the file will have to be processed in the Mining Lease Section. There is an elaborate procedure followed while considering applications in Department of Mines and Geology. The Section Officer initially examines the file. A detailed note on the application is prepared. The file, along with note sheet, is sent to the Superintendent of the Mining Leases Section who is a senior Officer who examines the note sheet and puts up the same before the Additional Director. The Additional Director, who is the senior-most departmental Officer in the Department, examines the entire file and puts up the file before the Director.
He passes an order considering the law applicable. If it is within the jurisdiction, he disposes the application. If an order from the State Government is required, it is so referred with comments. The Director signs the lease deed by virtue of delegation under Section 26(2) of the Act.

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