1. Since the Criminal Petition No. 57/2018, Criminal Petition No. 652/2018 and Criminal Petition No. 107/2018 are in respect of the same crime number, since similar questions of law and facts are involved in all these three above petitions they were taken together to dispose of, by this common order to avoid repetition of the facts and law.
2. The first petition (Crl. P. No. 57/2018) is filed by the accused No. 1, the second petition (Crl. P. No. 652/2018) is filed by the accused No. 2 and the third petition (Crl. P. No. 107/2018) is filed by the accused No. 3, filed under Section 438 of Cr.P.C. seeking anticipatory bail, to direct the respondent-police to release the petitioners on bail in the event of their arrest for the offences punishable under Section 409 of IPC of IPC registered in respondent police station Crime No. 272/2017.
3. Brief facts of the prosecution case that one Mr. Banuprasad discharging his duties as P.I. of C.C.B office, H & B Squad. He has recovered Rs. 3 crores of Demonetization Indian Currency notes in respect of this case and a case was registered before Shankarpura Police Station in Crime No. 14/2017 and P.F.No.06/2017 was drawn there upon. But had kept Demonetization Indian Currency Notes inside the office room of C.C.B locker and Almeria systems. Therefore, allegation that during the month of August 2017 Banuprasad, police inspector retired from his service as per the order of ACP H&B squad dated 10/12/2017. Banuprasad handed over the entire case files of seized Demonetization Indian Currency Notes and when complainant verified the entire PF amount he was shocked and surprised that out of the 3 Crore amount, which was received by him only received 1 Crore and 40 Lakhs but the remaining 1 Crore 60 Lakhs was missing. Therefore, allegation that during the course, the seized Demonetized Indian Currency amount kept inside the room and ASI Hombalegowda, H.C. Narasimha and H.C. Gangadhar, were using the said room. Thereby misappropriated the seized amount and also suspecting against all the accused. On the basis of the said complaint, case came to be registered for the alleged offences under Section 409 of the IPC in Crime No. 272/2017.
4. Heard the arguments of the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners/accused and also the learned High Court Government Pleader appearing for the respondent-State.
5. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner No. 1 made the submission that even looking to the complaint averments there is no definite allegation that the said amount was entrusted into the custody of petitioner No. 1. Unless and until there is entrustment, there cannot be offence under Section 409 of the IPC. He also draw the attention of the Court towards the averments made in the complaint and submitted that the complaint was registered on the basis of the suspicion raised against these three persons because there were using the said room. He made the submission that the said room was not under lock and the key was not kept with any of the petitioners herein. Many police officers and officials in the C.C.B police they were using the said room, they were moving around, inside the said room. Therefore, it cannot be said that these are the only three persons who are responsible for the same. Hence, he made submission that there is no prima facie material at this stage as against the petitioners. They are ready to co-operate with the investigation agency. Since, they being police officer they will not abscond and that they are ready to abide by any conditions to be imposed by this Court.
6. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of petitioner-accused Nos.2 and 3 submitted that they have adopted arguments of learned counsel appearing for the petitioner-accused No. 1. They also made submission that there is no prima facie case against them.
7. Per contra, learned High Court Government Pleader, made submission drawing the attention of the court to the contents of the complaint and submitted that entire money was under the custody of these three persons., therefore they are responsible for the missing of the amount to the extent of 1 Crore and 60 Lakhs. Hence, he made submission that the matter is still under investigation, they are influential persons, therefore they are not entitled for anticipatory bail at this stage.
8. I have perused the grounds urged in the bail petition, FIR, complaint and other materials placed on record.
9. Looking to the very allegation in the complaint, one thing is clear that the person holding the custody of the bags seized this demonetization notes to the tune of nearly 3 Crore and one Banuprasad till his retirement he has not entrusted the money and the bags to these petitioners. He retired but while retiring he has given the bags into the custody of the complainant and when verified only then came to know about the missing of the amount to an extent of Rs. 1 Crore and 60 Lakhs.
10. I have carefully perused the contents of the complaint and other materials. Looking to the contents of the complaint, there is no definite case of the prosecution that Banuprasad entrusted bags containing the notes into the custody of these three petitioners, there is no such averments in the complaint. What is said in the complaint is the bags were kept in one room and the said room was used by these three petitioners except that there is no other allegation made. Therefore suspicion was raised against these petitioners on the ground that they were using the said room, only on the basis of such suspicions, at this stage it cannot be concluded. Though prosecution not made out the prima facie case against the petitioners herein apart from that they are ready to abide by any reasonable conditions to be imposed by this court and are ready to co-operate with the investigation agency as and when they are called for. Petitioners are the police officer working in C.C.B office. The alleged offence under section 409 of IPC is also triable by the magistrate court and it is not exclusively punishable with death or imprisonment for life and in the circumstances, I am of the clear opinion that these are the fit cases wherein anticipatory bail can be granted to all the three petitioners by imposing reasonable conditions.
Accordingly all the three petitions are allowed and petitioners can be granted with anticipatory bail. The respondent-Police is directed to enlarge the present petitioners on bail in the event of their arrest for the alleged offence punishable under Sections 409 of IPC
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registered in respondent police station Crime No. 272/2017, subject to the following conditions: i. Petitioners shall execute a personal bond for Rs. 1,00,000/- each and shall furnish one surety for the likesum to the satisfaction of the arresting authority. ii. Petitioners shall not tamper with any of the prosecution witnesses, directly or indirectly. iii. Petitioners have to make themselves available before the Investigating Officer for interrogation, as and when called for and to cooperate with the further investigation. iv. The petitioners have to appear before the concerned Court within 30 days from the date of this order and to execute the personal bond and the surety bond.