BABUL CHOUBEY Vs. STATE OF WEST BENGAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
STATE OF WEST BENGAL
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A.K.Bhattacharji J. -
(1.)In this criminal revision the legality of a prosecution initiated on the basis of an investigation made by the Special Crime Branch, Central Bureau of Investigation, has been challenged by the accused petitioner. The prosecution was initiated on the basis of a complaint fled before C.M.M. Calcutta by one Ajit Kumar Dhar, Dy. Manager (Law), West Bengal Finance Corporation, against three persons, namely, Shri Gopal Agarwal and Sm. Kusum Agarwal, both Directors of Mangalpota Cold Storage Industries Private Ltd., 11 Cotton Street, Calcutta and one Ram Balak Singh, proprietor of M/s. Bihar Refrigeration Machinery, 1/2, Srimani Bagan Lane, Salkia, Howrah, it has been alleged in the petition of complaint that an amount of Rs. 60 lakhs was sanctioned by the Corporation as financial assistance to Mangalpota Cold Storage Industries (P) Ltd. for purchase of plant and machineries. The aforesaid Directors of Mangalpota Cold Storage Industries (P) Ltd. appointed Shri Ram Balak Singh, proprietor of M/s. Bihar Refrigerating Machinery, Salkia, Howrah, to manufacture the necessary machinery. Thereafter the accused persons forwarded a proforma bill dated 11.8.86 for Rs. 21,50,995.74 P. submitted by Ram Balak Singh indicating that the machineries ordered were lying ready for delivery and accordingly two cheques of a total amount of Rs. 19,80,786.99 P. were issued by the Corporation against hypothecation of the assets of the aforesaid accused firm for the supply of plant and machinery. Later it was detected by the Corporation that no plant and machinery had actually been installed at the factory premises of the above Cold Storage. It was accordingly alleged that all the three accused persons noted above had entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat that Corporation and had misappropriated the money sanctioned to them for their personal gains.
(2.)The learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at the prayer of the complainant sent the petition of complaint to the Supdt. of Police, C.B.I., Lindsay Street, Calcutta, for causing investigation u/s 156(3) Cr.P.C. treating the complaint as a first information report. The C.B.I. after a detailed investigation submitted a charge-sheet before the C.M.M., Calcutta, against several accused persons including the present revision petitioner under sections 120B/420/468/471 I.P.C. The learned C.M.M. took cognizance of the offences and transferred the case to the fourth Court of Metropolitan Magistrate for disposal. The revision petitioner has challenged the criminal prosecution on several grounds the main ground being that the investigation by the C.B.I. of the alleged offences was absolutely illegal. A rule was issued and further proceeding of the case as against the petitioner stayed.
(3.)On behalf of the petitioner Mr. Somen Ghosh challenges the investigation on several grounds. His first and foremost objection is that the C.B.I. cannot be entrusted with the work of investigation in this case for want of the requisite consent of the State Government with respect to the offences involved as required under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. His next objection is that even if there was consent of the State Government for the investigation of the relevant offences the investigation was bad for not being conducted by the actual officer to whom direction was given under section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. His another objection is that the officer ordered to investigate the case having an address outside the jurisdiction of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court the whole order is without jurisdiction having regard to the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 156 Cr.P.C. He also attacks the investigation by the C.B.I. on the general ground that the State Police was primarily entitled to investigate any case and that order for investigation by the C.B.I. could be given only in a special case where the investigation by the general machinery was unsuccessful or otherwise not convincing. His last argument is that the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate took cognizance of the offences without applying his mind and that as such the cognizance is bad.
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