(Prayer: This Criminal Appeal is filed U/S.374(2) Cr.P.C praying to set aside the judgment and order dated 16.12.2016 passed by the Prl. Dist. and S.J., Chikkaballapura in Pcacc.No.6/2012 - Convicting the Appellant/Accused for the offences punishable under Section 7, 13(1)(D) r/w 13(2) of P.C. Act. The Appellant/Accused is sentenced to undergo R.I. for 1 Year 6 Months and to pay fine of Rs.25,000/- in default of payment of fine to undergo S.I. for 4 months for the offences punishable under Section 7 of P.C. Act. Further, the Appellant/Accused is sentenced to undergo R.I. for 1 Year 6 Months and to pay fine of Rs.25,000/- in default of payment of fine to undergo S.I. for 4 Months for the offences punishable under Section 13(1)(D) r/w 13(2) of P.C. Act. Except Default Sentences, both the sentences shall run concurrently.)
Through Video Conference:
1. This appeal is preferred against the judgment of conviction and order of sentence passed by learned Prl. District and Sessions Judge, Chikkaballapura in P.C.A.C.C.No.6/2012 dated 16.12.2016, whereby the appellant(hereinafter referred to as 'accused') is convicted for the offences punishable under sections 7 and 13(1) (d) r/w 13(2) of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988( hereinafter referred to as 'P.C. Act', 1988) and is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year six months and a fine of Rs.25,000/- for the offence under section 7 and rigorous imprisonment for one year six months and a fine of Rs.25,000/- for the offence punishable under section 13 (1) (d) r/w section 13(2) of P.C. Act, 1988.
2. The case of the prosecution as unfurled during trial is that on 22.03.2010, the complainant(PW-1) lodged a written information before the Karnataka Lokayuktha police, Chikkaballapura alleging that his father owned a site bearing House list No.559/6 measuring 30ft x 40 ft of Ulavadi village. On coming to know that the appellant herein viz. the accused who was then the Secretary of Ulavadi Grama Panchayathi, Chintamani had cancelled the boundaries of the said site, he approached the accused at his house and requested for restoration of the boundaries as per the original records. The accused is stated to have demanded Rs.5,000/- and a bottle of VAT 69 Whisky and asked the complainant to make an application in this regard. It is alleged that after negotiation, the demand was scaled down to Rs.3,000/- and a bottle of whisky and accordingly, the complainant submitted an application before the Grama panchayath, Chintamani. In this regard, the complainant rang up to the accused two or three times and on 20.03.2010, once again, he submitted another application. Since the complainant was not inclined to pay the bribe demanded by the accused, he approached Lokayuktha police. The Dy.S.P., Lokayuktha, Chikkaballapur asked the complainant to record the conversation in the voice recorder. According to the complainant, on 23.03.2010, at 12.00 noon, he rang up to the accused through his mobile No.9731206526 and the accused asked him to come home in the evening. Based on this complaint, PW-3 the then Dy.S.P., Lokayuktha, Chikkaballapura registered the FIR Ex-P8 in Cr.No.2/2010 and arranged a trap. During the trap, tainted currency notes of Rs.3,000/- and a VAT 69 Whisky bottle containing water was recovered from the possession of the appellant in his house under a panchanama. The subsequent Investigating Officer PW-5 filed a charge sheet against the appellant. The appellant denied the charges and faced trial.
3. In order to bring home the guilt of the appellant/accused, the prosecution examined five witnesses viz., the complainant PW-1, shadow witness PW-2, the investigating officers-PWs-3, 4 and 5 and produced in evidence, 27 documents marked as Exs-P1 to P27 and material objects at M.Os.1 to 16. In his examination under section 313 Cr.P.C, the accused denied the incriminating evidence brought on record and took up a plea that he knew the complainant since about six months prior to the incident. Complainant had submitted an application for change of boundaries in respect of a Government land situated in Gopasandra village. Accused asked him to produce original documents and to get an order from higher officers for change of the boundaries. Since the complainant did not produce any such documents, he could not attend to the work of the complainant and hence, the complainant had lodged a false proceedings against him. The accused did not examine any witnesses on his behalf.
4. After hearing the parties and on considering the material produced by the prosecution, the learned trial Judge by the impugned judgment found the appellant guilty of the above offences and accordingly sentenced him as above.
5. Criticizing the judgment of conviction and the consequent order of sentence, learned counsel appearing for the appellant has raised the following contentions:-
a. The appellant being a public servant could not have been prosecuted for the alleged offences without there being valid sanction; The trial court failed to note that the prosecution failed to prove Ex-P25 the sanction order; the sanctioning authority was not examined before the court, as a result, the accused has been denied an opportunity to cross-examine the sanctioning authority to show that he did not apply his mind to the material produced before him while according sanction; mere marking of the sanction order does not amount to proof; the trial court has also failed to consider the legality and validity of the sanction order, as a result, the entire trial is vitiated.
b. The trial court has not properly assessed the oral and documentary evidence adduced on behalf of the prosecution.
c. The trial court totally ignored the material omissions and contradictions in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.
d. PW-1 the complainant being an interested witness, his evidence could not have been relied on without corroboration.
e. The evidence of PW-1 did not reveal any demand of illegal gratification or acceptance by the appellant.
f. The evidence regarding digital voice recorder is not admissible in evidence and the trial court therefore has fallen in error in placing reliance on the same.
g. According to the prosecution, during the trap proceedings, two other independent witnesses viz., CWs- 4 and 5 were present in the house of the accused. None of these witnesses have been examined by the prosecution. In the said circumstances, instead of drawing adverse inference against the prosecution, trial court has proceeded to convict the accused solely based on the uncorroborated testimony of the complainant.
6. Placing reliance on the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of SELVARAJ v. STATE OF KARNATAKA reported in (2015) 10 SCC 230, learned counsel emphasized that mere recovery of tainted money is not sufficient to convict the accused. There has to be corroboration of testimony of complainant regarding demand of bribe. It is the submission of the learned counsel that PW-2 viz., shadow witness who accompanied the complainant at the first instance was deliberately kept out when the complainant entered the house of the accused. The evidence given by PW-1 does not indicate any demand of bribe by the accused. As such, there is no acceptable evidence to prove the alleged demand. In the absence of clear proof of demand, the trial court could not have drawn presumption under section 20 of the P.C. Act, 1988 to record a conviction against the accused.
7. Refuting the above submissions, learned Special Public Prosecutor appearing on behalf of respondent State argued in support of the impugned judgment contending that the oral and documentary evidence produced by the prosecution convincingly establish that the accused demanded Rs.3,000/- and a bottle of VAT 69 whisky to carry out the official work of the complainant; the complainant PW-1 has specifically deposed about the demand made by the accused and the factum of receipt of said amount has been proved by the evidence of PW-1 as well as the contents of the panchanama prepared during trap; the circumstances highlighted by the counsel for the appellant are minor discrepancies which do not affect the core case of the prosecution; the prosecution having proved the essential ingredients of the offence through the evidence of the complainant and the shadow witness as well as the police witness who participated in the trap proceedings, non- examination of CWs-4 and 5 do not weaken the case of the prosecution nor does it lead to any adverse inference against the prosecution; there is clear evidence with regard to demand and receipt of illegal gratification by the accused; the documents produced by the prosecution viz., the case file relating to change of boundaries establish that the accused was in a position to do official favour in respect of which, he demanded and received illegal gratification. In support of his submission, learned counsel has placed reliance on the following decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court:-
1. MUKHTIAR SINGH (SINCE DECEASED) THROUGH HIS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE v. STATE OF PUNJAB reported in (2017) 8 SCC 136.
2. GURUVIAH v. STATE REPRESENTED BY INSPECTOR OF POLICE reported in (2019) 8 SCC 396.
3. SHAMBU NATH MEHRA v. THE STATE OF AJMER, reported in AIR 1956 SC 404.
8. I have bestowed my thoughtful consideration to the contentions urged by the learned counsels appearing for the parties and have carefully scrutinized the oral and documentary evidence available on record.
9. Law is now well settled that in order to prove the charge under sections 7 and 13 of P.C. Act, 1988, the prosecution has to establish by proper proof, the demand and acceptance of illegal gratification. As held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the case of P. SATYANARAYANA MURTHY v. STATE OF A.P. reported in (2015) 10 SCC 152 which is followed in MUKHTIAR SINGH's case referred above, "The proof of demand of illegal gratification, thus, is the gravamen of the offence under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the Act and in absence thereof, unmistakably the charge therefor, would fail. Mere acceptance of any amount allegedly by way of illegal gratification or recovery thereof, dehors the proof of demand, ipso facto, would thus not be sufficient to bring home the charge under these two sections of the Act. As a corollary, failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Sections 7 or 13 of the Act would not entail his conviction thereunder."
10. In view of this settled position, the points that arise for consideration in this appeal are:-
1. Whether the sanction for prosecution of the accused is bad for non-examination of the sanctioning authority?
2. Whether the prosecution has been able to prove the factum of demand and acceptance of bribe by the accused for doing an official favour to the complainant?
3. Whether the impugned judgment of conviction and sentence of the accused is justified under law and facts of this case ?.
11. Coming to the question of proper sanction for prosecution of the accused is concerned, the records indicate that in the course of trial, the sanction order issued by the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Panchayath, Chikkaballapur was marked in evidence as Ex-P25. This document was marked through PW-5 viz., the Investigating Officer without any objections by the accused or his counsel either with regard to its validity or with regard to the proof thereof. Even before this Court, accused has not disputed the competency of the Chief Executive Officer, Chikkaballapur to issue the aforesaid sanction, rather the contention urged by the learned counsel for the appellant is that on account of non-examination of the sanctioning authority, the accused has been denied the right to cross-examine the sanctioning authority to show that he did not apply his mind to the material produced before him while according sanction.
12. A reading of the sanction order Ex-P25 on the face of it discloses that the entire material collected during investigation including the complaint, panchanamas and the statement of the witnesses were produced before the sanctioning authority and considering this material, the sanctioning authority on arriving at a satisfaction that it disclosed the commission of the offences under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) r/w section 13(2) of P.C. Act, 1988 issued the sanction order. The sanction order on the face of it reflects that all the materials which were produced before the sanctioning authority have been considered and after due application of mind, the sanction has been accorded. Nevertheless, no objection having been raised before the trial court either at the time of production of the said document or in the course of trial, in my view, the accused is not entitled to question the validity or proof of the sanction order at the appellate stage, unless the accused is able to show that he has been subjected to prejudice or failure of justice as prescribed in section 19(3) of P.C. Act, 1988. The section states:
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),--
(a) no finding, sentence or order passed by a Special Judge shall be reversed or altered by a court in appeal, confirmation or revision on the ground of the absence of, or any error, omission or irregularity in, the sanction required under sub-section (1), unless in the opinion of that court, a failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby;
13. Learned counsel for the appellant/accused has not been able to point out any circumstances leading to failure of justice on account of non-examination of sanctioning authority. The sanction accorded in the instant case being inherently admissible in evidence, in view of the failure of the accused to raise objection to the mode or method of proof during trial, the appellant/accused cannot be permitted to raise this plea at the appellate stage.
14. In the light of above factual and legal position, the contention urged by the accused on this score is liable to be rejected and is accordingly rejected.
15. Coming to the essential ingredients constituting the offence under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) of P.C. Act, 1988 viz., 'demand' and 'receipt' of illegal gratification is concerned, the specific case of the prosecution is that the alleged gratification was demanded by the accused for rectification of the boundaries in respect of a house list/site allotted to the father of the complainant. In order to prove the factum of 'demand', the prosecution has mainly relied on the contents of the complaint Ex-P1 lodged by the complainant at the earliest instance and the conversation recorded in the CDs- M.Os 14 and 15 as well as oral testimony of the complainant/PW-1 before the Court.
16. The trial court has believed the evidence of the prosecution in this regard and has held that the alleged demand has been proved by the contents of two compact discs(CDs) viz., M.Os.14 and 15 and the same has been spoken to by PW-1 in his evidence, as such, the evidence adduced by the prosecution in proof of 'demand' is sufficient to record a finding against the accused. This finding is under challenge in this appeal on the ground that the CDs relied on by the prosecution are inadmissible in evidence and the testimony of the complainant in the instant case does not establish the 'demand' within the meaning of sections 7 and 13(1) (d) of P.C. Act, 1988 and the complainant being an interested witness, his oral testimony could not have been relied on without proper corroboration.
17. Coming to the admissibility of M.Os 14 and 15 is concerned, it is relevant to note that the specific case of the prosecution is that the Investigating Officer handed over a voice recorder to the complainant and asked him to record the conversation between him and the accused so as to ascertain the alleged demand before proceeding into the matter. But PW-1 in his evidence has unequivocally stated that eventhough a voice recorder was given to him, he recorded the conversation between him and the accused that had taken place on 23.03.2010 at 12.00 noon in his mobile phone. It is important to note that neither the voice recorder nor the mobile phone have been seized during investigation nor have they been produced before the court, as such, crucial evidence in proof of the alleged prior 'demand' is not available before the Court.
18. Be that as it may, in appreciating the case of the prosecution, it is significant to note that in his evidence, PW-1 has maintained all throughout that he recorded the conversation in his mobile phone, whereas the Investigating Officers viz., PWs-3 to 5 have consistently deposed that the conversation between the accused and PW-1 was recorded in the voice recorder. This discrepancy goes to the root of the matter and demolishes the veracity of M.Os 14 and 15 relied on by the prosecution. If the evidence of PW-1 is believed, the case of the prosecution that the alleged conversation was recorded in the voice recorder and the same was copied to the CDs falls to the ground. In the wake of this material discrepancy in the evidence let in by the prosecution and more importantly the primary source from which the conversation was transferred to CDs having not been produced before the Court, the authenticity of the CDs produced before the trial court viz., MOs 14 and 15 are rendered doubtful.
19. The argument of learned counsel for the appellant/accused that the CDs produced before this Court being secondary evidence, the same could not have been admitted in evidence without complying with the requirements of section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, cannot be accepted in view of the law enunciated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of SONU @ AMAR vs. STATE OF HARYANA, reported in AIR 2017 SCC 3441, wherein it is held that " It is nobody's case that CDRs which are a form of electronic record are not inherently admissible in evidence. The objection is that they were marked before the Trial Court without a certificate as required by Section 65B (4). It is clear from the judgments referred to supra that an objection relating to the mode or method of proof has to be raised at the time of marking of the document as an exhibit and not later. The crucial test, as affirmed by this Court, is whether the defect could have been cured at the stage of marking the document. Applying this test to the present case, if an objection was taken to the CDRs being marked without a certificate, the Court could have given the prosecution an opportunity to rectify the deficiency. It is also clear from the above judgments that objections regarding admissibility of documents which are per se inadmissible can be taken even at the appellate stage. Admissibility of a document which is inherently inadmissible is an issue which can be taken up at the appellate stage because it is a fundamental issue. The mode or method of proof is procedural and objections, if not taken at the trial, cannot be permitted at the appellate stage. If the objections to the mode of proof are permitted to be taken at the appellate stage by a party, the other side does not have an opportunity of rectifying the deficiencies. The learned Senior Counsel for the State referred to statements under Section 161 of the Cr. P.C. 1973 as an example of documents falling under the said category of inherently inadmissible evidence. CDRs do not fall in the said category of documents. We are satisfied that an objection that CDRs are unreliable due to violation of the procedure prescribed in Section 65 B (4) cannot be permitted to be raised at this stage as the objection relates to the mode or method of proof."
20. In the instant case, undeniably, the CDs were marked without any objection by the accused or his counsel. Therefore, in view of the proposition laid down in the above decision, the contention urged by learned counsel for the appellant/accused regarding admissibility of CDs cannot be a factor to discard MOs.14 and 15, yet in view of the discrepancy in the evidence of PW-1 and PWs-3 to 5 as to whether the information contained in CDs was recorded or copied from the voice recorder or from the mobile phone of the complainant, no reliance could be placed on M.Os 14 and 15. Resultantly, MOs 14 and 15 are liable to be excluded from consideration.
21. If M.Os.14 and 15 are excluded from consideration, the prosecution is left with only the oral testimony of PW-1 and the contents of the complaint to prove the prior demand alleged to have been made by the accused. But on going through the deposition of PW-1, I find that the testimony of PW-1 in this regard is scanty and does not establish the alleged prior demand. In para 3 of his deposition, the complainant/PW-1 has narrated that when he requested the accused to rectify the boundaries, the accused demanded Rs.5,000/- and a VAT 69 whisky bottle from him and he agreed to pay Rs.3,000/-. The date and time of the alleged demand is not forthcoming in his deposition, whereas, in the complaint, he has stated that on coming to know that the accused had changed the boundaries of the site allotted to his father, he met him in his house about 20 days earlier to lodging of the complaint and at that time, the accused demanded a sum of Rs.5,000/- . He has further alleged in the complaint that on 18.03.2010, once again, he met the accused in his house and even at that time, the accused demanded Rs.5,000/- and after negotiation, he agreed to do the work for Rs.3,000/- and a bottle of VAT 69 whisky and asked the complainant to come at 7 'O' clock on Monday. In the complaint, he has further stated that thereafter, he rang up to the accused two to three times and on 20.03.2010, he submitted another application to the Bill Collector and obtained an acknowledgement and thereafter approached Lokayuktha police, Chikkaballapura on 22.03.2010. All these aspects are not stated by him on oath before the Court. Even the alleged acknowledgement is not produced. In the said circumstances, even the contents of the complaint cannot be taken as corroborative evidence in proof of the alleged prior demand.
22. Coming to the other portion of his evidence, PW-1 has narrated in detail the sequence of events right from lodging the information before Lokayuktha police till the arrival of the accused to his house at about 9.45 p.m. This evidence even if accepted as true does not help the prosecution to determine the factum of demand. The crucial evidence in this regard finds place in paras 11 and 12 of his deposition which reads as under:-
23. From the above evidence, it can be gathered that on the date of trap on seeing the complainant/PW-1, the accused himself questioned him as to why he was late and at that time, the complainant is stated to have replied that he had come about 7.00 p.m., but the accused himself was not there. This statement indicates that the complainant and the accused had earlier acquaintances and were known to each other. As a matter of fact, the accused in his 313 statement, has admitted that he was acquainted with PW-1 and that he had approached him in connection with change of boundaries of a Government land situated in Gopasandra Village. In his explanation submitted to the Investigating Officer during trap, viz., Ex-P3 at the earliest instance, he had stated that the complainant had come to his house to hand over Rs.3,000/- borrowed by him. This version is given up by the accused during his examination under section 313 Cr.P.C, and no circumstances are brought on record to probabalise the version narrated by him either in his explanation Ex-P4 or in his reply during his examination under section 313 Cr.P.C. Nonetheless, the primary burden having been cast on the prosecution to prove that the amount of Rs.3,000/- and a bottle of whisky was given by the complainant to the accused pursuant to demand made by him in connection with rectification of boundaries of a house list/site, the prosecution cannot bring home the guilt of the accused without clear and cogent proof of this fact.
24. There is nothing in the entire evidence of PW-1 to suggest that the accused had demanded the alleged illegal gratification from the complainant either on the date of trap or anytime earlier thereto. His evidence is not specific, in the sense that he has nowhere stated in his evidence that on the date of the trap, the accused demanded Rs.3,000/- and a bottle of whisky. Here itself, it is relevant to note that the oral testimony of PW-1 varies from the contents of trap panchanama on material particulars. In the trap panchanama- Ex-P3 which was contemporaneously prepared during arrest of the accused, it is noted that when the Investigating Officer questioned the complainant about the events that had transpired in the house of the accused, the complainant/PW-1 is seen to have stated that at about 21.40 hours, the accused came to his house on his two wheeler. He followed him. Two persons known to him by name Harish and Raju were in the house. The accused asked PW-1 as to why he was late and so saying he went inside, took off his pant and shirt and came out wearing a lungi. The complainant handed over Rs.3,000/-. He counted the money. Thereafter PW- 1 handed over the bottle of whisky wrapped in a paper. The accused kept these items in the kitchen and asked him to come at 9.30 a.m. on the following day. This statement is contrary to the version narrated by PW-1 in his evidence before the Court, wherein for the first time, he has stated that the accused asked him whether he had brought the money asked by him. This statement, even if accepted as true at its face value, it cannot lead to the inference that the accused made any demand from the complainant as alleged by the prosecution. The query made by the accused as to whether the complainant had brought the money asked by him cannot be construed as a demand of Rs.3,000/- to do the official work of the complainant as sought to be made out by the prosecution.
25. On careful scrutiny of the entire evidence on record, I find that the evidence of PW-1 in proof of 'demand' is not wholly reliable. In view of the circumstances highlighted above, I am of the view that his evidence cannot be accepted without corroboration. Of-course, there is no requirement under law that the evidence of the complainant cannot be relied on without corroboration, but in the instant case, having regard to the vague, inconsistent and discrepant evidence let in by the prosecution, in my view, it is not safe to rely on the solitary testimony of PW-1 in proof of the alleged demand without corroboration. No-doubt, as held in M.O. SHAMSUDHIN vs. STATE OF KERALA, (1995) 3 SCC 351, corroboration could be afforded even through circumstantial evidence. But in the instant case, except the oral testimony of PW-1 as extracted in paras 11 and 12 of his deposition, there is no other circumstantial evidence in support of the ingredient of 'demand' making out the alleged offence. Even the shadow witness did not accompany the complainant to the house of the accused. According to the complainant, he himself asked the shadow witness to remain downstairs and he alone proceeded to the house of the accused; as a result, even the testimony of the shadow witness is not available to the prosecution to corroborate the version of the complainant.
26. The conduct of PW-1 in taking the shadow witness alongwith him while going to the house of the accused on the first occasion, but asking him to wait downstairs at the crucial moment leads to suspect his intentions. His explanation that he did not take PW-2 along with him lest the accused would become suspicious, is difficult to believe as this apprehension would have been present even on the first occasion. That apart, according to the prosecution, during the trap, two other persons known to the complainant viz., CWs-4 and 5 were present in the house. They were
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cited as prosecution witnesses; but for reasons best known to the prosecution, even these witnesses have been kept out of the witness box. All these circumstances cumulatively lead to the inference that the prosecution has deliberately withheld material evidence and has rest contented only on the interested testimony of PW-1. But as already discussed above, the evidence of PW-1 falls short of the legal requirement and cannot be made the sole basis in proof of demand which is the essential concomitant of the offence alleged against the accused. Barring the vague and unreliable evidence of PW-1, no other material is available on record to hold that the possession of the seized currency notes MOs.2 and 6 and the whisky bottle M.O.4 was preceded with a demand by the accused. Under the said circumstances, eventhough there is overwhelming evidence to show that the accused was in possession of tainted currency notes and a whisky bottle and the same was recovered from his house, yet, in the absence of any clear evidence to show that the accused had received the said amount from the complainant pursuant to the demand made by him to perform the alleged official acts, as held in the decisions referred above, the conviction recorded by the trial court cannot be sustained. Law is well settled that in order to prove the charge under sections 7 and 13(1) (d) of P.C. Act, 1988, the prosecution has to establish by proper proof, the 'demand' and 'acceptance' of illegal gratification. Mere acceptance of any amount allegedly by way of illegal gratification or recovery thereof, dehors the proof of demand, would not be sufficient to bring home the charge under these two sections of the P.C. Act, 1988. 27. The trial court has failed to advert its mind to the doubtful circumstances emanating from the evidence adduced by the prosecution. The appreciation of evidence by the trial court is not proper. It has committed a serious error in placing reliance on inadmissible piece of evidence which has resulted in failure of justice. The conclusions reached by the trial court are not based on legal evidence. On re-appreciating the entire material on record, it is clear that prosecution has not produced worthwhile evidence in proof of 'demand' which is the essential concomitant of the offence charged against the accused. In the absence of clear proof of demand , the conviction recorded by the trial court under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) r/w 13(2) of the P.C. Act, 1988 being perverse and contrary to the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the decisions referred above, the same cannot be sustained. 28. For the above reasons, the impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence is liable to be set-aside. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. Impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence dated 16.12.2016 in P.C.A.C.C.No.6/2012 on the file of Prl. District and Sessions Judge, Chikkaballapura is set-aside. Consequently, the appellant/accused Sri. S. Arundath is acquitted of the charges under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) r/w 13(2) of P.C. Act, 1988. His bail bond is cancelled and the sureties are discharged.