(Prayer: This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 438 of Cr.P.C., seeking to grant anticipatory bail to the petitioners, release them on bail in the event of their arrest in C.C.No.509/2017 (P.C.No.52/2017) pending on the file of Civil Judge and JMFC., Mundaragi, for the offences punishable under Section-21 of MMRD Act.)
1. This petition under Section-438 of Cr.P.C., is filed by petitioners, who have been arraigned as accused Nos.1 & 2 in CC.No.509/2017 (PC.No.52/2017) pending on the file of the Civil Judge and JMFC., Mundaragi for the offences punishable unde
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r Section-21 of the MMRD Act, 1957, seeking to enlarge them on bail, in the event of their arrest in the above case.
2. The above case came to be registered based on the private complaint lodged under Section-200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, by complaint Smt. Savithri.B.P., the officer of the department of Mines and Geology, Gadag, for and on behalf of the State Government. It is averred in the complaint on 22.07.2016, the Executive Engineer, HESCOM., Hubballi informed the complainant that stone quarrying being carried illegally in the land bearing SY.No.39/5 & 35/1. Based on the information received, the complainant had been to the spot and found that the accused were found carrying quarrying operation by removing 54496 metric tone stone in the adjacent government land bearing Survey No.39/2 and thereby they caused huge loss to the State exchequer and thereby committed offence under Section-21 of the MMRD Act. Based on the said private complaint lodged by the officer of the department of Mines and Geology, the jurisdictional Magistrate, after recording the sworn statement of the witnesses, took cognizance of the offences alleged against the accused-petitioners and converted the said PC.No.52/2017 into CC.No.509/2017, which is pending trial before the Court below.
3. Learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the petitioners are an innocent of the offences alleged against them and that they have not committed any offences, as alleged in the complaint; on earlier occasion also, private complaint was lodged against them, in which, they were acquitted by the district and Sessions Court. Hence, he prays for grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioner.
4. On the other hand, learned HCGP., vehemently submits that these petitioners not only carried illegal stone quarrying operation in the land bearing R.S.No.39/5 & 35/1 but also in the adjacent government land and thereby incurred huge loss to the State exchequer to the tune of Rs.1,78,00,000/-. Further he submits that on earlier occasion also, the petitioners were involved in the similar offences and this would indicate that they were habitual offender of the provisions of the MMRD Act. Right from registration of the case against them, the petitioners were absconding and the same would indicate that they are guilty of the offences alleged against them. The investigation material would disclose prima facie case against the petitioners and if the petitioners are enlarged on bail, there is every likelihood of they tampering the prosecution evidence and threatening the prosecution witnesses and thereby, flee away from the clutches of justice and hence, he prays for dismissal of the bail petition.
5. On careful perusal of the investigation papers it is seen that the case came to be registered based on the private complaint lodged by the Officers of the Mines and Geology department of Gadag, for and on behalf of the State, wherein it was alleged that the petitioners were carrying illegal stone quarrying operation in the land bearing R.S.No.35/1, 39/2 and also in the adjacent Government land and thereby caused huge loss to the State exchequer and thereby committed offence under Section-21 of MMRD Act. Though the offences alleged against the petitioners are serious in nature, they are not exclusively punishable either with death or imprisonment for life. The guilt of the accused is yet to be established by the prosecution by adducing evidence after full fledged trial. At this juncture, there is no mens rea attributable to the accused-petitioners. At the same time, the apprehension of the prosecution shall be cured/removed by imposing stringent conditions against the petitioners. Looking to the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the considered opinion that without expressing any opinion on merits of the matter, the application filed by the petitioners deserves to be allowed. Hence, I proceed to pass the following:
The petition filed by the petitioners under Section 438 of Cr.P.C. is hereby allowed. They shall be enlarged on bail, in the event of their arrest in CC.No.509/2017 (P.C.No.52/2017) pending on the file of the Civil Judge and JMFC., Mundaragi, subject to the following conditions:
(1) Petitioners shall surrender themselves before the trial Court within 20 days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order shall execute a personal bond in a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- each with one surety for the likesum to the satisfaction of the trial Court.
(2) Petitioners shall co-operate in the investigation of the crime, if necessary.
(3) Petitioners shall not tamper or hamper the case of prosecution witnesses.
(4) Petitioners shall appear before the Court on all the dates of hearing without fail.
(5) Petitioners shall mark their attendance before the S.H.O. of Mundaragi police station, once in fortnight as per the English monthly calendar in between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for a period of six months.
(6) Petitioners shall not indulge in any other criminal activities henceforth.
(7) If the petitioners violate any of the above conditions, the bail order shall stand ceased.