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Suraj Prakash Meena V/S State of Rajasthan

    No----

    Decided On, 23 May 2008

    At, High Court of Rajasthan

    By, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: RAGHUVENDRA S. RATHORE

   



Judgment Text


1. Heard learned Counsel for the petitioner, learned Public Prosecutor and perused the material on record.

2. After having received informations that the Housing Co- operative Societies in the city of Jaipur have been committing fraud with the public and they have even issued forged pattas and also resulting in loss of cross of rupees every month by way of revenue to the State Government in respect of registration fee. That Deputy Inspector General of Police, Special and Economic Crime had issued directions to the Additional Superintendent of Police to inquire into the matter and to intimate. A team of twelve police personnels was constituted for the purpose. During this period, a complaint was received from one Kanhiya Lal Saini on 6.2.2008 alleging that the petitioner has committed fraud with many persons through his Company, namely, Jhandewala Mahaveer Colonizers Pvt. Ltd. The Additional Superintendent of Police then proceeded into the matter. During the course of enquiry he received information/complaints from many other persons, namely, Laxmi Bai,

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Raju Sahu, Narayan Prashad, Raju Saini, Anita Devi, Parvati Devi, Jitendra Kumar Saini, Nathi Devi, Banti Saini, etc. and he also looked into the records of the co-operative societies which included the photo copies of forged pattas, receipts, etc. The inquiry officer then submitted his report, recommending action against the petitioner and other persons. Thereafter, a regular report came to be filled by Kesar Singh, Additional S.P., Special and Economic Crime, CID, (CB) on 18.2.2008. The investigation commenced and after collection of evidence by the investigation agency, a challan came to be filed against the petitioner and other persons on 14.5.2008.

3. The learned Counsel for the petitioner has raised various arguments, incorporating all the probable defenses on behalf of the accused-persons. The learned Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that in the instant case, the detention of the petitioner is illegal because the informant Additional Superintendent of Police had lodged the report after investigating the matter, whereas, the report which was given by the Kanhiya Lal Saini should have been lodged as the First Information Report. He has also submitted that the petitioner has not committed any forgery and the pattas of the societies had been issued by Mahendra Choudhary and Kailash. In this regard, he has referred to the relevant provisions of law such as Sections 494, 467, 468 and 471 IPC. According to the learned Counsel, when an administrator was already appointed on the society in the year 1996 then all the functioning of the society should have been done by him and the pattas, receipts etc. could not have been issued by anyone else in the year 2001-2005. In this context, he has also submitted that the offence, if made out, in the present case was only under the Co-operative Societies Act. The learned Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the complainant/investors are no better than the accused because they have invested their black money and as such they fall within the category of accomplish under Section 114 of the Evidence Act. Therefore, he has submitted that the petitioner has not committed any offence. In support of his submissions, the learned Counsel has relied upon the cases of Chandra Swami v. CBI 1996 (2) RCR (Criminal) 501, Sandeep Jain v. National Capital Territory of the Delhi 2000 (1) RCR (Criminal) 517, Ashok Dhingra v. NCT of Delhi : (2000)9SCC533 and Rajendra Kumar Dhanraj Banthia v. State of Gujarat (2005) 13 SCC 238.

4. On the other hand, the learned public prosecutor has vehemently opposed the bail application and has prayed that in the facts and circumstances of the present case, the petitioner is not at all entitled to be enlarged on bail. He has submitted that there were complaints by the public at large against the fraud and cheating, committed by the colonizers' company/builders in Jaipur city and the poor persons did not get the pattas or any plot nor their money had been returned. He has also referred to the statements of Parvati Devi and other persons recorded during the course of investigation. According to the learned public prosecutor, the petitioner is habitual offender and as many as 44 cases of similar nature are pending against him.

5. I have given my thoughtful consideration to the rival submissions made by the parties. A perusal of the evidence on record goes to show that the investigation was not only conducted by a team of senior police personnels, who were so appointed in this case, but the investigation has also been thoroughly conducted and the conclusion is supported by number of documents.

6. The investigation agency has recorded the statements of various persons including Kanhiya lal Saini and has recovered the forged pattas issued in respect of the property in question. The recoveries of the documents, vehicles, bank statements, record of the Jandewala Mahaveer Colonizers Pvt. Ltd. from the Registrar of Companies have been made. The statements of the employees of the office of the said company has also been recorded and the original allotment letters and receipts have also been recovered. Specimen signatures of the concerning persons have also been taken. During the course of investigation, the investigation agency had also received documents from the Dy. Registrar, Jaipur City, Co-operative Department, Additional Commissioner (Administration), Jaipur Development Authority, Joint Registrar, Banking Co-operative Department, the Administrator, Jhandewala Mahaveer Swami Colonizer Co-operative Society Ltd. and the revenue record from the 'Halka Patwari'.

7. Broadly speaking, it has emerged from the evidence collected during investigation that it was in the year 1997 that the accused-petitioner had constituted the Jhandewala Mahaveer Swami Colonizer Co-operative Society Ltd. for the purpose of estate business. In the year 2002, he became Director of the Company in place of Lovekesh Sharma. The Company then came to be known as Jandewala Mahaveer Colonizers Pvt. Ltd. The company projected its scheme to give plots of various sizes at easy installments. Attractive publication and advertisements were issued so as to invite applications from the public at large. Consequently, a large number of persons had come forward to purchase plots from the company and deposited the entire amount. But they were neither given the pattas nor the possession. Later on, forged pattas of the year 1996 in the name of Girdharilalpura area were given instead of Ladipura, the place where the plots were to be given. According to the revenue records Jhandewalal Mahaveer Colonizers Pvt. Ltd. or Mahaveer Swami Grih Nirman Sahakari Samiti does not have any land in its name. It has also come on record that Mahendra Choudhary, one of the signatories to the pattas had already died in the year 2005. During the course of investigation and on the information given by the petitioner, blank pattas of the society having the signatures of Mahendra Choudhary were recovered from the plot of Birdi Chand at Sain Colony, Jaipur.

8. In view of the thorough investigation made in the case, the police came to the conclusion that the petitioner and his associates had proposed the scheme in the year 2004 and issued pattas in earlier dates when the administrator had already been appointed on the society. The petitioner and his company neither had the land nor they were authorized to issue any allotment letter. In this case, other accused-persons are yet to be arrested and the investigation is pending against the other persons.

9. So far as the bail, which has been granted to the petitioner in some other cases, referred by the learned Counsel for the petitioner, is concerned it appear to be cases of individual instances. In the case of Chandra Swami (supra), it may be mentioned that it was not a case of anticipatory bail as it would reveal from Para 21 of the said case. Suffice it to say, that a reading of para 17 and 18 of the said case would show that the Apex Court was considering the bail application in the fact situation of that case where the complaint has been initiated long back i.e. in the year 1983 onwards. Even in the case, where the bail was granted, the alleged offence related to an incident of six years ago. However, the Hon'ble Supreme Court, in para 18 of the said judgment, has laid down that an accused is entitle to bail 'ordinarily'. In the case of Sandeep Jain (supra) it was a matter (para 4) where an onerous condition that an accused at the FIR stage should pay a huge sum of Rs. 2,00,000/- to be set at liberty. It was in that situation and the long period custody that the Hon'ble Supreme Court ordered that the accused be released on bail, on his executing a bond in a sum of Rs. 25,000/- with two solvent sureties. In the case of Ashok Dhingra (supra), the accused was allowed to continue on bail when he was given an interim bail on 10.12.1999 and taking into consideration that the accused was in custody since 5.7.1999, it was ordered that the accused shall remain on bail. In the case of Rajendra Pal Dhanraj Banthia, the accused was not directly involved in the fraud.

10. Needless to say that no precedent is binding in bail matters and each case has to be decided in the facts and circumstances of that case as held in Mohan Lal S/o Bhajan Lal Bairagi v. The State of Rajasthan 2005(1) Cr.L.R. (Raj.) 1320. As mentioned above, the cases cited by the learned Counsel for the petitioner are, in my opinion, on entirely different facts and circumstances than the present one.

11. This Court is conscious of the fact that while considering a bail application elaborate discussion of the evidence and detail consideration of the document are not to be made. Keeping in view the said limitation, I do not propose to go into the details of the evidence on record or to discuss in detail of every and each submission advanced by the learned Counsel for the petitioner. The obvious reason is that any discussion/observation made at the stage of bail application may prejudice the case of either parties. However, in my considered opinion, taking into consideration the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and also the far reaching grievance which has resulted to a large number of members of the society, I do not consider it just and proper to enlarge the petitioner on bail at this stage.

12. However, the petitioner shall be at liberty to approach the trial Court for bail after recording of the statements of material witnesses of the prosecution like. Parvati Devi and other persons, mentioned hereinabove. Consequently, the bail application is dismissed at this stage
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