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T. Jayanthimala v/s State Rep. by its Inspector of Police, Salem

    Crl. O.P. No. 6193 of 2022 & Crl. M.P. No. 3487 of 2022
    Decided On, 07 September 2022
    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
    For the Petitioner: K.M. Vijayan for M/s. K.M. Vijayan Associates, Advocates. For the Respondent: S. Udayakumar, Government Advocate (Crl.Side).

Judgment Text
(Prayer: This Criminal Original Petition is filed under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., to call for the records in Crime No.10/AC of 2021 on the file of Inspector of Police, Vigilance and Anti Corruption, Salem District and quash the same.)

1. The second accused in Cr.No.10/AC of 2021 on the file of the Inspector of Police (Vigilance and Anti Corruption) Salem, seeks quashment of the FIR qua the petitioner.

2. The petitioner is arrived as Accused No.2 in Crime No.10/AC of 2021, which was registered by Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, Salem for the offences under Sections 120B, 167, 409, 420 of IPC and Sections 13(2), 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as amended by the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018 for the occurrence took place in the year 2017 to 2019.

3. The case of the prosecution is that

(i) The petitioner is an Assistant Executive Engineer of Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Board, Salem Division and arrayed as A2. The A1 who is Executive Engineer entrusted with the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Housing, failed to conduct field inspection along with A2 to A4 and ascertain that all the applicants having any concrete roofed houses by their own and after confirming their eligibilities, issue work order to them. Further A2 to A4 are having the responsibilities to verify the photocopy of the title deed, family photo of the beneficiary taken in front of the existing house, undertaking of the beneficiary as per Annexure-II therein.

(ii) Accused Nos.1 to 4 hatched criminal conspiracy to misappropriate the fund, in order to execute the conspiracy that they have selected ineligible persons as beneficiaries and during the enquiry, seven beneficiaries where randomly ascertained between the period 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019, without conducting any field inspection and also without verifying the genuineness of the documents enclosed with the application issued work order on various dates by violating the guidelines issued by the Government of India in G.O.Ms.No.125, Housing and Urban Development Department, dated 08.10.2015.

(iii) The beneficiaries already having concrete roof houses and they are all having Permanent Account Numbers and they are not coming under the category of weaker sections of the urban society and allotted loan to seven persons to the tune of Rs.14,70,000/- and the same was misappropriated by the Accused Nos.1 to 4 and they are being public servants, committed criminal misconduct and the amount was shared among themselves. Hence, the complaint.

4. The learned Senior Advocate Mr.K.M.Vijayan would contend that as per the circular, there is nothing to suggest that the person who is already having the house are not eligible under the Central Government scheme and therefore, in the absence of any guidelines, the petitioner/A2 cannot be implicated of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct.

5. Heard the learned Government Advocate (Criminal Side) appearing on behalf of the respondent police. He has filed the status report that the investigation is on. LW1 to LW8 were so far examined, statements have been recorded and the process is further on.

6. The Central Government has launched a comprehensive mission Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) housing for all, this mission will provide Central assistance to implementing agencies through States and UT for providing houses India urban areas formulated and guidelines for beneficiary. The main eligibility is beneficiary should belong to Economic Weaker Section and to reside within the Corporation/Municipality limits. The other conditions are as follows:

(i) Own a site with clear patta in the name of the head of the family or any other member of the household.

(ii) Do not own any other concrete house elsewhere in Tamil Nadu and does not benefited under any other housing schemes of the Government.

(iii) Those beneficiaries having a house site either assigned under the government free house sit scheme or having an ancestral house side of not more than 1200 sq.ft and are currently residing in a dwelling unit not owned by them or any of their family members.

7. The procedure for application of the loan has been elaborately submitted by the learned Senior Advocate Mr.K.M.Vijayan. The main contention of the learned Senior Advocate is that, the limited liability of the petitioner is only to receive an application and to verify the self attested certificate regarding the proof of income and other possibilities of the document verification cannot be done and the role played by the petitioner herein/A2 is only to verify the document pertaining to the property.

8. As submitted by the learned Government Advocate (Crl. Side), FIR is registered against the petitioner and the other accused for the reason that field inspection is not conducted and failed to verify the document and to ascertain that whether the beneficiary is not having any concrete roof house by their own and the enquiry revealed that the beneficiary is having own concrete house and they are holding Permanent Account Numbers and hence, the investigation is set to be in motion and it is in a half way through.

9. G.O.Ms.No.125, Housing and Urban Development Department dated 08.10.2015 and guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing Scheme dated 21.01.2021 was enlightened by the petitioner's counsel. The circular issued by the Tamil Nadu Slum clearance Board dated 22.04.2021, the proceedings of the Tamilnadu Urban Habitat Development Board dated 28.09.2021 and the subsequent circular on 30.10.2021 are focused upon.

10. For the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Housing Scheme, three major conditions have been fixed viz., (i) that the person who is eligible belongs to economically weaker section; (ii) they must own a site with clear patta in the name of the head of the family; and (iii) do not own any other concrete house elsewhere in Tamil Nadu and the sites should be not more than 1200 sq.ft and other procedures are issued by the circulars, as mentioned above.

11. According to the petitioner, she had followed the G.O.Ms.No.125, Housing and Urban Development Department dated 08.10.2015 and the subsequent guidelines issued on 21.01.2021 is not applicable to the loan processed by her under the above project.

12. The main complaint against this petitioner/A2 is that the very purpose of the loan is to provide house in urban areas and to provide central assistance to the implementing agency and the beneficiaries, should not own any concrete house elsewhere in Tamil Nadu. Whether the beneficiaries have suppressed about their holding of a concrete house / suppressed the entire fact and applied for benefits under the scheme, whether any mechanism has been given to or not, is under investigation.

13. Two circulars are relied upon by the respective parties. The prime allegation is that for the occurrence took place between 2017 and 2018, cases were registered in respect of guidelines issued in the year 2021. Whether there existed any other circular from time to time regarding the implementation, it is for the investigating agency to get the details from the Central Government as well as from the State Government and department of Tamilnadu Urban Habitat Development Board and still it is in the investigation stage.

14. Therefore, after a complete investigation only, what are the roles and liabilities that could be attributed against this petitioner can be fixed and hence, I find that since the substantial part of investigation is crossed and the collection of other details regarding, the circulars falling upon the cases covered in between 2017 and 2019 and whether the beneficiaries have suppressed the facts or the officials have failed to ascertain the essential criteria for allotment of the loan for the construction of house which is primarily intended to provide home for the homeless and to render monetary assistance and whether the beneficiary are to be added as the accused or not, are all to be decided by the investigation officer and thereafter, it is open to the petitioner/A2 to challenge the same after substantial part of the investigation is completed.

15. Hence, this Court is of the considered view that this is not the right time to interfere with the investigation and let the

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investigation be carried on by the respondent police and on the subsequent development based upon the subsequent collection of materials, if the petitioner is still aggrieved, he is given liberty to agitate by way of the subsequent quashment petition, if he be so advised. 16. With this liberty to the petitioner, the Criminal Original Petition is dismissed. The respondent/Vigilance and Anti-Corruption department is directed to expedite the investigation and collect the materials with regard to the rules governing for the allotment of loans between the year 2017 and 2019 and also to consider whether the beneficiary of the scheme have suppressed the material or in connivance with the official accused, they have enriched themselves, in violation of the scheme so as to render them to face as a accused, in the light of the various decisions on this point. Consequently, the connected Criminal Miscellaneous Petition is closed.