RAJA SESHAIAH Vs. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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(1.)The appellant was a tax recovery inspector in the income tax department. He was convicted for an offence under sections 7 and 13 (2) read with section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by the judgment of the special judge, Hyderabad and rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years and a fine of Rs. 2,000/- in default to undergo simple imprisonment for six months was imposed on him. The conviction has been maintained in judgment under appeal by the High Court, but the imprisonment has been reduced from two years to one year and fine to Rs. 1,000/- and default period to three months. The accused is in appeal.
(2.)The case of the prosecution in brief is that the appellant visited the shop of one t. Krishna Mohan Rao of Rajeshwari lorry Transport on 4th January, 1991. He informed Mr. Rao of the tax arrears of Rs. 19.481/- for the assessment years 1985-86 to 1987-88 pertaining to his firm and also showed him the demand notice issued by the tax recovery officer. Mr. Rao told the accused that he was a working partner and requested the accused that he should have approached the other three remaining partners and the names and addresses of the remaining partners were supplied to the accused. Exhibit p. 3 dated 5th January, 1991 is a written report made by the said Rao to the inspector of police, C. B. I. , stating that the accused informed him that as a special squad inspector, he was authorised to collect tax from any of the partners of the firm and if Rao pays him Rs. 1,000/- as bribe, he shall recover the arrears from the remaining partners; if not, then he shall see that Rao's business is at dislodged and he will also attach his properties. Further the complaint says that the accused told the complainant that he will return the next date, i. e. , 5th January, 1991, the date on which the complaint was made because the complainant had told the accused on the previous date that he did not have Rs. 1,000/ -. The complainant asked the police to take action since he would not like to give the bribe. A trap was laid on 5th January, 1991. When, at the agreed time, the accused visited the shop of the complainant, a sum of Rs. 1,000/- was paid to him by Rao. The accused was caught on the spot. The numbers of the currency notes which were previously noted and the chemically treated currency notes, the result of chemical analysis whereof was positive, proved the receipt of the amount by the appellant. The receipt of Rs. 1,000/- by the appellant from Rao is even otherwise not disputed.
(3.)With reference to the evidence on record, in particular the evidence of the officer from the tax department, it is contended that as a tax recovery inspector, the appellant was entitled to receive the tax and the tax in part as well, the only obligation on him being to deposit the tax, so collected, within 24 hours in the treasury. The contention is that the amount of Rs. 1,000/- so received by the appellant was not a bribe but was only a part payment towards the tax amount of Rs. 19,481/- due from the firm. The trial court as also the High Court, on appreciation of the evidence, have come to the conclusion that it was a bribe amount and not a part of the tax amount.
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