Rajesh Kaler @ Rajesh Kumar vs State Of Punjab on 23 February, 2024

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Punjab-Haryana High Court

Rajesh Kaler @ Rajesh Kumar vs State Of Punjab on 23 February, 2024

Author: Anoop Chitkara

Bench: Anoop Chitkara

                                                                  Neutral Citation No:=2024:PHHC:025444




CRM-M-64777-2023

                  IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
                               AT CHANDIGARH

                                                          CRM-M-64777-2023
                                                          Reserved on: 14.02.2024
                                                          Pronounced on: 23.02.2024

Rajesh Kaler @ Rajesh Kumar                                                     ...Pe  oner
                                       Versus
State of Punjab                                                                 ...Respondent


CORAM:           HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ANOOP CHITKARA

Present:          Mr. Harsh Goyal, Advocate
                 for the pe  oner.

                 Mr. A.D.S. Sukhija, Addl. A.G., Punjab.

                                       ****

ANOOP CHITKARA, J.
FIR No.     Dated         Police Sta0on                Sec0ons
1           10.02.2017    Economic Offences             409, 420, 467, 468, 471, 201, 120-B
                          Wing,       Vigilance        IPC and 13(1) (d) and 13(2) of
                          Bureau,       District       Preven on of Corrup on Act, 1988
                          Ludhiana

1. Apprehending arrest in the FIR cap oned above, the pe oner, who in the year
2015-2016 was posted as Patwari in village Singriwal and allegedly showed inflated rates
to help the land owners to get higher compensa on from Competent Authority for Land
Acquisi on, headed by Anand Sagar Sharma, who was the Kingpin, had come up before
this Court seeking an cipatory bail.

2. On 09.01.2024, on the extreme resistance by the State’s counsel, this Court did
not grant interim bail to the pe oner but stayed his arrest, and the said interim order
is con nuing to date.

3. The facts of the case are being taken from the reply dated 14.02.2024 filed by
the concerned Deputy Superintendent of Police, which reads as follows:

1. That it is per nent to men on here that the FIR No. 01 dated
10.02.2017, registered Under Sec on 409, 420, 467, 468, 471,
120-B IPC and Sec on 13 (1) (d) 13 (2) of the Preven on of
Corrup on Act 1988, at Police Sta on Economic Offences Wing,
Punjab, Vigilance Bureau Ludhiana was ini ally registered a8er
Vigilance enquiry no. 09/2016 Jalandhar. Earlier 13 accused were

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nominated in this FIR and the role played by other 15 suspects was
to be inves gated. Therea8er, during the course of inves ga on a
SIT was cons tuted to inves gate the said ma=er by the then
Chief Director Vigilance Bureau Punjab vide its office order dated
25.05.2018. The said SIT inves gated the ma=er and filed
cancella on report before the Hon’ble Special Court of Dr. Ajit
A=ri, Ludhiana on 13.06.2019.

2. That the Hon’ble Special Court of Dr. Ajit A=ri, Ludhiana had
directed to further inves gate the said FIR vide its order dated
05.04.2022. That as per the direc on of this Hon’ble court the case
was further inves gated especially in the light of following 13
points.

a) Whether any permission was sought from the Municipal
Commi=ee, Hoshiarpur/administra on prior to publica on of
no fica on no.3-A for the development of the colonies or not and
what is the exact me of the development of colony if any?

b) Whether the proper procedure for the change in the nature of
the land has been followed before issuance of the varia on
cer ficates and when the change in the nature of land was applied
in each such case and when the necessary procedure was followed
in each case of change of the nature of the land? Whether owner
of the land moved any wri=en applica on before the SDM with
regard to change in nature of the land or not and whether these
applica on were entered in the diary by assigning the numbers?

Apart from this, whether the nature of the land could be changed
a8er publica on of the no fica on 3-A. 3-D, 3G or not and if it
was possible, then what procedure was to be adopted for this
purpose? In how many cases the nature of the land is changed
a8er the no fica on 3A, 3-D and 3G?

c) Whether the land in ques on has been sold or purchased a8er
publica on of no fica on no.3-A and subsequent no fica ons in
pursuance to some conspiracy by the accused? The number of the
sale deeds executed and registered immediately before and a8er
the issuance of the no fica on/s, the market rate of the area prior
to those sale deeds and the market rate of the area a8er the
issuance of the no fica ons?

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d) In how many cases the applica ons for the change in the nature
of the land were received, in how many cases such applica on
were allowed and in how many cases the applica ons were not
allowed? The en re process followed for the change of the nature
of the land?

e) To what extent the amount of compensa on was increased on
change of nature of the land on sale/purchase of land in ques on
a8er the publica on of no fica on no.3-A?

f) On what basis, the amount of compensa on was calculated?

g) To how many persons the compensa on was disbursed and at
what rate, who purchased land a8er the publica on of no fica on
3-A?

h) What were the guidelines of the M.O.R.T.H regarding the
aspect of sale/purchase of the land during the process of
acquisi on?

i) What were the responsibili es of the CALA regarding the issue of
sale/purchase of the land and whether CALA carried out his
responsibili es as outlined in the M.O.R.T.H guidelines?

j) Whether the proper procedure was followed by CALA in
determina on of I the compensa on to be paid to the land
owners?

k) Whether the change of the nature of land in ques on influenced
the rates of compensa on, if yes, then how much loss was caused
by this to the State?

i) Whether the CALA determined the rates of compensa on bases
on nature of the land and market value as on the date of
no fica on issued under sec on 3-A of the N.H. Act 1956 or not?

m) Whether the criteria followed for deciding the market value of
the lands was based on the parameters provided by the law?

3. That, in order to comply with the direc ons of the Hon’ble court
under order dated 05.04.2022, a Special Inves ga on Team (SIT)
was cons tuted. Therea8er, during the course of further
inves ga on by the said SIT, new facts have been discovered
regarding the gravity of offence commi=ed by the accused in the
said ma=er. A8er perusal of the case documents by the SIT, it has
come to no ce that Dra8 3A schedule was prepared by the survey

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company Louis Berger group and same was sent to office of XEN
PWD Hoshiarpur (Project Director). Therea8er the same dra8 3A
Schedule was further sent to the office of co-accused Anand Sagar
Sharma who was the then SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur by XEN
PWD Hoshiarpur vide office le=er no. 903 dated 19-01- 2015 for
verifica on of khasras. It is per nent to men on here that the
accused Anand Sagar Sharma the then SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur
inten onally and with malafide kept the said Dra8 3A schedule
pending in his office for about four months and fraudulently
changed the khasra numbers of five villages namely
Khwaspur/Piplanwala, DaganaKalan, DaganaKhurd,
Hardokhanpur and Bassijana in the 3A schedule. By doing this he
illegally created a new road alignment falling in the above
men oned five villages. That, in order to prove this illegal road
alignment, the present SIT compared both the dra8 3A schedule
prepared by Louis burger company and 3A schedule prepared by
the accused and then SDM cum CALA Anand Sagar Sharma along
with men oned khasra numbers in both and map showing the
road alignments through concerned Revenue officials. (Copy of the
comparison report and map a=ached herewith as annexure-1).

4. That a8er the crea on of new road alignment in the above
men oned five villages the accused Anand Sagar Sharma the then
SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur involved his near and close persons
namely Harpinder Singh etc. That accused Harpinder Singh started
purchasing the agricultural land in villages Khawaspur and
Hardokhanpur in is own name and in the name of his family
members/rela ves/close associates. Therea8er, in connivance and
conspiracy with accused Anand Sagar Sharma, the accused
Harpinder Singh and other accused men oned in this FIR received
compensa on on colony/residen al rates, which is totally unfair
and illegal in the eyes of law. It is worth while to men on here
that the present SIT while during the course of inves ga on
obtained reports from the concerned departments to verify and
inves gate the facts as following:

(i) The SIT obtained report dated 04/10/2023 from the office of
District town planner Hoshiarpur and as per this report/record no

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CLU/Lay out/Site plan/NOC were issued by the then office. In fact
there is no communica on between any the accused who filed
applica on under 3C and the Office of District town Planner with
regard to same. It is crystal clear from the report of DTP dated
04/10/2023 that there is no basic facility like street
lights/drainage system/water supply etc. available even as on
date as per the record. (Copy of the report dated 04/10/2023 is
a=ached as annexure- 2).

(ii) That during the course of inves ga on the report from PSPCL
was also obtained. While in the said report dated 10/10/2023 it is
specifically men oned that none of accused who filed applica on
under 3C has applied for issuance/installa on of the electricity
meter nor same been the department as per office record. (The
copy of said PSPCL report dated 10/10/2023 a=ached as
annexure-3)

(iii) That the current/latest report from the revenue department
was also obtained the SIT during the course of inves ga on and as
per the said report dated 21/09/2023 there colony/residen al
area in the said land described by the accused while filing
applica on under 3C. Even the said area is surrounded by
agricultural crops as well. (The copy of revenue report dated
21/09/2023 is a=ached annexure-4).

5. That as per the law laid down in the Na onal Highway Act 1956
under sec on 3D(2);-

“On the publica on of the declara on under sub-sec on (1), the
land shall vest absolutely in the Central Government free from all
encumbrances.” But the accused and the then SDM cum CALA
Anand Sagar Sharma, in connivance and conspiracy with other
accused and by abusing process law kept transferring the
ownership tles in the changed khasra numbers in 3A schedule by
him even a8er no fica on under 3D/3G, even when the names of
actual owners of the land were already published the no fica on
under 3D/3G, in order to give compensa on to other accused and
conspirators in this ma=er. It is also per nent to men on here
that during the course inves ga on actual owners of the land
came forward and got recorded their statements that the accused

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have cheated and defrauded them and their compensa on
amount has been grabbed by them, in connivance and conspiracy
with each other.

6. Detail of sequen ally published no fica ons regarding the
acquisi on of land under Na onal 70 (Now NH-3)(Jalandhar-
Chintpurani) as following:

Sr. No. No fica ons Date of publica on in newspaper

1. 3A 14.07.2015

2. 3D 10.11.2015&11.11.2015

3. 3G 01.12.2015

7. Specific role of the accused/pe oner Rajesh Kaler is
described as following:

That the accused/pe oner Rajesh Kaler, in connivance and
conspiracy with other accused Anand Sagar Sharma (the then
SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur) and other accused determined the
land value of accused Avtar Singh Johal at commercial rates while
the collector rate/value was available. Accordingly, the accused
Avtar Singh Johal who had moved a claim applica on under
no fica on 3G against his acquired land, could succeed to grab
the compensa on amount in excess due to the illegal act of
accused/pe oner. (The copy of claim applica on annexure-5)
That from the facts men oned here it is crystal clear that the
accused/pe oner instead of discharging his du es within the
frame of law worked on the instruc ons of other accused Anand
Sagar Sharma the then SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur in order to
have wrongful gain and cause wrongful loss to others. That the
accused/pe oner with mala fide inten on and mensrea and in
connivance and conspiracy with other accused as men oned
above, determined the land value at commercial rate instead of
it’s actual collector rate which was available at the me of
assessment of the same and caused huge loss to the state
exchequer. The said recommenda ons by Tehsildar Baljinder Singh
and concerned competent authority under Land Acquisi on Act

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(NH Act 1956) Cum-S.D.M. Hoshiarpur and final award in excess
was distributed (as a=ached in A-5,A-6,A-7,A-8,A- 9,A-10,A-11).

8. That it is per nent to men on here that the present SIT,
in addi on to the said FIR added sec on 201 IPC, nominated 42
other accused and mean while declared one accused as innocent
vide DDR no. 06 dated 17.11.2023 and accused/applicant is
among these 42 accused. It is also worthwhile to men on here
that the name of accused/applicant was men oned as suspect
ini ally in the present FIR.

It is respecOully prayed that keeping in view above men oned
facts and circumstances the present pe on filed by the
pe oner, seeking grant of an cipatory bail may kindly be
dismissed, in the interest of jus ce.”

4. I have heard counsel for the par es and gone through the pleadings and its
analysis would lead to the following outcome.

5. Counsel for the pe oner argued that the pe oner -Rajesh Kaler @ Rajesh
Kumar, was posted as a Patwari in village Singariwal and no other village; as such, he
cannot be burdened with the inflated valua ons carried out in other villages. The State
counsel does not dispute this argument. As such, this Court shall read the evidence only
about alleged inflated market rates for land acquisi on, in which the pe oner had
given reports about valua on rela ng to village Singariwal and none else.

6. The State’s counsel submiHed that the pe oner determined the land value at
rates which were much higher even than the prevalent market rates for the commercial
proper es, for compensa on, whereas he was bound to follow the collectorate rates.
The state has annexed Annexure-A-8 at Page No.20 of Affidavit filed today in court,
which shows that Compensa on is awarded/recommended by the CALA and Tehsildar
aLer considering the Market Prices as per Sec on-26, 27, 28, 29, 30 of Right to Fair
Compensa on and Transparency in Land Acquisi on, Rehabilita on and ReseHlement
Act, 2013 which comes around Rs.600000/- Per Marla for Showroom. The pe oner’s
counsel submits that there is no signatures of pe oner on the report or there is no
recommenda on of pe oner to consider Market Rate for grant of compensa on. He
further submiHed that Sec on-26 of The Right to Fair Compensa on and Transparency
in Land Acquisi on, Rehabilita on and ReseHlement Act, 2013 and Sec on-3G (7) (a)
empowered the Competent Authority and Arbitrator to grant compensa on on the
basis of Market Rates and the CALA has passed award accordingly, which was even
approved by M.O.R.T.H. He further argued that the issue in ques on regarding

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assessment of Market Rate is of Civil Nature and that is challenge able and the
concerned authority has already availed their remedy before the Arbitrator Cum
Commissioner, Jalandhar, and referred to the copy of one order dated 03-09-2019.

7. The pe oner’s counsel’s next submission is that some of the beneficiaries have
approached this Hon’ble Court for disbursement of compensa on as per Award passed
by CALA in ques on dated 27- 04-2016 by way of filling CWP-27621/2023 tled as
Mandeep Sharma and others Vs Union of India and CWP-1262-2024 tled as Nand
Kishore Sharma vs Union of India, wherein this Hon’ble Court vide order dated 10-1-
2024 and 20-1-2024, directed the Authority/Respondent no.3 therein to bring demand
draL for the amount of compensa on payable as per the Award dated 27-04- 2016.

8. The pe oner’s next argument is that it is undisputed that one Tata Motors
Showroom had been built in village Singariwal, and as such, the land adjacent to such
Tata Motors Showroom would also fall in the commercial category.

9. The State’s counsel has argued that the collector rate at the commercial/shop
plot was Rs.3 lakhs per marla and as such, the rate per acre would be Rs.4 crore 80
lakhs, whereas the pe oner allegedly showed the rate as Rs.5 lakhs per marla which
would take the total rate per acre to Rs.8 crore. In the reply dated 14.02.2024, the
report prepared by the pe oner has been annexed as Annexure A-7. The English
transla on of the said order is annexed on page 19, which reads as follows:

“As per your order the applicant has a showroom at Khasra No.
25-12/3-13 whose collector rate is Rs. 3,00,000/- and market rate
is Rs. 5,00,000/- per marla.”

10. The pe oner’s case is that even if every word of this report is accepted, even
then, the pe oner did not commit any offence. The pe oner’s counsel submits that
the pe oner has men oned the collector rate of the showroom as Rs.3 lakhs per marla
and the market rate as Rs. 5 lakhs per marla. He further submits that when CALA Anand
Sagar Sharma passed the award, he had assessed the market value as Rs.6 lakhs per
marla, which would show that he did not rely upon the report given by the pe oner,
Patwari.

11. State counsel opposes this on the ground that it was part of a strategy to inflate
the rate brick by brick, and as such, Patwari was instrumental, and he knowingly
men oned the market rate as Rs. Five lakhs per marla because there was no reason for
him to point out the market rate Rs. Five lakhs per marla without any suppor ve
documents.

12. An analysis of the above points out that the pe oner assessed the market rate
at Rs. Five lacs per marla, but he has no occasion to assess that market rate of Rs. Five

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lakhs without any suppor ve documents, which shows that he was in connivance with
said Anand Sagar Sharma, the then SDM who inten onally raised it further and assessed
the compensa on as Rs.6 lakhs per marla. Further, the report given by the pe oner did
not give corrobora ve reference to any sale deed or other valua on to conclude that
the market rate had increased from the collector rate of Rs.3 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs aLer
the no fica on or the breaking of the news of such an acquisi on.

13. Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses, and Na onal
Highways are considered the backbone of our road infrastructure. The Governments
allocate and spend massive chunks of tax payer’s money for the development of
Na onal Highways to provide general assistance to the public- to make ci es more
accessible to the masses for their economic, medical, educa onal, and social needs,
aiming to provide beHer opportuni es to people to further their development; thereby,
targe ng at the overall growth of the country. The rate increases whenever the land
acquisi on takes place for a Na onal Highway. When a vital road or infrastructure
project is laid, then the rates of adjacent lands also go up. Land price apprecia on
depends on various factors like demand, supply, market forces, development of
infrastructure, and improved connec vity. However, it is common knowledge that in
most places, real estate market rates are much higher than the collector rates. Despite
knowing such differences in rates, when it comes to registra on of the proper es, most
of the revenue authori es never point out the actual market rates but issue valua on
cer ficates at the collectorate rates/ circle rates without correc ng the collector
rates/circle rates. Concerned officials mostly refrain from upda ng the data to facilitate
the adjustment of black and undeclared money in property transac ons. It causes loss
to the State exchequer, which receives lesser registra on and other fees; loss to the
Income Tax department because the capital gain tax is less; and a fatal blow to the
system because it provides a foolproof method to those government employees who
are corrupt, to launder their ill-goHen and bribe money; to the criminals who adjust the
proceeds of crime and illicit money; and also to the others to adjust their undeclared
income. However, some of these very revenue officials at once refer to the market rates
or even the highly inflated current market rates for assessing the compensa on payable
for the land acquisi on, making the infrastructural development extremely expensive,
breaching the project’s es mated costs, and delaying the execu on.

14. A patwari, Kanungo, and Tehsildar are the key revenue officials at the grassroots
level and plays a vital role in the revenue administra on at the base level. The
allega ons of such major leakages in the system at the base level are a maHer of grave
concern and the concerned Government must deal with the corrupt ones with a firm

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hand because if the termite of corrup on is allowed to fest, at this rate, it would slowly
but surely bleed state exchequer dry and make our founda ons hollow.

15. The pe oner, being a patwari, at the ground level is the first func onary to
assess the value of land/nature of the land.

16. The pe oner had made a founda on for Anand Sagar Sharma for a grant of
higher compensa on. The increase of the rates from Rs.3 lakhs per marla to Rs.5 lakhs
per marla without any corrobora ve sale deeds points out that the pe oner was ac ng
beyond his official du es with malice and clearly to help the owner of the land to get
higher compensa on for acquisi on. Had the pe oner been sincere towards his job,
then the moment he would have come to no ce that the market rate was above the
collector rate, it was his bounden duty to inform his superior officer to enable them to
make an increase in the collector rate of the relevant area which was not done by him,
which shows that market rate was not Rs.5 to 6 lakhs per marla but was Rs. 3 lakhs per
marla.

17. Suppose the assessment of rates was made before the breaking of the news of
land acquisi on, or issuance of no ce under the NHAI Act, or actual acquisi on. In that
case, such an assessment can be said to be without any malicious intent. However, that
is not the case at hand. The present case establishes the pe oner’s malicious intent to
benefit the land’s owner and certainly in connivance with Anand Sagar Sharma, CALA,
who further sanc oned the compensa on at Rs.6 lakhs per marla. Due to this nexus,
massive revenue loss was caused to the government. Thus, the pe oner’s custodial
interroga on is required to determine the financial benefits he had gained from the
land purchaser and Anand Sagar Sharma, the then CALA, and recover the said amount, if
any.

18. Given the nature of allega ons, custodial interroga on is required. An analysis of
the allega ons and evidence collected does not warrant the grant of bail to the
pe oner.

19. In Sumitha Pradeep v Arun Kumar CK, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1529, Supreme Court
holds,
[16]. … We have no ced one common argument being canvassed
that no custodial interroga on is required and, therefore,
an cipatory bail may be granted. There appears to be a serious
misconcep on of law that if no case for custodial interroga on is
made out by the prosecu on, then that alone would be a good
ground to grant an cipatory bail. Custodial interroga on can be
one of the relevant aspects to be considered along with other
grounds while deciding an applica on seeking an cipatory bail.
There may be many cases in which the custodial interroga on of
the accused may not be required, but that does not mean that the
prima facie case against the accused should be an cipatory bail.

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The first and foremost thing that the court hearing an an cipatory
bail applica on should consider is the prima facie case put up
against the accused. ThereaLer, the nature of the offence should
be looked into along with the severity of the punishment.
Custodial interroga on can be one of the grounds to decline
an cipatory bail. However, even if custodial interroga on is not
required or necessitated, by itself, cannot be a ground to grant
an cipatory bail.

20. In State of Gujarat v. Mohanlal Jitamalji Porwal (1987) 2 SCC 364, Supreme Court
holds,
[5]. ….The en re community is aggrieved if the economic
offenders who ruin the economy of the State are not brought to
book. A murder may be commiHed in the heat of moment upon
passions being aroused. An economic offence is commiHed with
cool calcula on and deliberate design with an eye on personal
profit regardless of the consequence to the community. A
disregard for the interest of the community can be manifested
only at the cost of forfei ng the trust and faith of the community
in the system to administer jus ce in an even-handed manner
without fear of cri cism from the quarters which view white collar
crimes with a permissive eye unmindful of the damage done to the
na onal economy and na onal interest…..”

21. In State rep. by CBI v. Anil Sharma, (1997) 7 SCC 187, Supreme Court holds,
[6]. We find force in the submission of the CBI that custodial
interroga on is qualita vely more elicita on oriented than
ques oning a suspect who is well ensconded with a favourable
order under Sec on 438 of the code. In a case like this effec ve
interroga on of suspected person is of tremendous advantage in
disinterring many useful informa ons and also materials which
would have been concealed. Succession such interroga on would
elude if the suspected person knows that he is well protected and
insulted by a pre-arrest bail during the me he interrogated. Very
oLen interroga on in such a condi on would reduce to a mere
ritual. The argument that the custodial interroga on is fraught with
the danger of the person being subjected to third degree methods
need not be countenanced, for, such an argument can be advanced
by all accused in all criminal cases. The court has to presume that
responsible Police Officers would conduct themselves in task of
disinterring offences would not conduct themselves as offenders.

22. InJai Prakash Singh v. State of Bihar and another (2012) 4 SCC 379, Supreme Court
holds,
[19]. Parameters for grant of an cipatory bail in a serious offence
are required to be sa sfied and further while gran ng such relief,
the court must record the reasons therefor. An cipatory bail can be
granted only in excep onal circumstances where the court is prima
facie of the view that the applicant has falsely been enroped in the
crime and would not misuse his liberty. [See D.K. Ganesh Babu v.
P.T. Manokaran (2007) 4 SCC 434, State of Maharashtra v. Mohd.
Sajid Husain Mohd. S. Husain (2008) 1 SCC 213 and Union of India

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v. Padam Narain Aggarwal (2008) 13 SCC 305].

23. In Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy v. CBI (2013) 7 SCC 439, Supreme Court holds,
[34]. Economic offences cons tute a class apart and need to be
visited with a different approach in the maHer of bail. The
economic offences having deep-rooted conspiracies and involving
huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and
considered as grave offences affec ng the economy of the country
as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial
health of the country.

[35]. While gran ng bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature
of accusa ons, the nature of evidence in support thereof, the
severity of the punishment which convic on will entail, the
character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the
accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the
accused at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses
being tampered with, the larger interests of the public/State and
other similar considera ons.

24. In P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement, 2019 9 SCC 24, Supreme Court
holds,
[70]. We are conscious of the fact that the legisla ve intent behind
the introduc on of Sec on 438 Cr.P.C., 1973 is to safeguard the
individual’s personal liberty and to protect him from the possibility
of being humiliated and from being subjected to unnecessary
police custody. However, the court must also keep in view that a
criminal offence is not just an offence against an individual, rather
the larger societal interest is at stake. Therefore, a delicate balance
is required to be established between the two rights – safeguarding
the personal liberty of an individual and the societal interest. It
cannot be said that refusal to grant an cipatory bail would amount
to denial of the rights conferred upon the appellant under Ar cle
21 of the Cons tu on of India.

25. In Central Bureau of Inves ga on v. Santosh Karnani, Cr.A 1148 of 2023, dated
17-04- 2023, Supreme Court, in an FIR registered under sec ons under Sec ons 7, 13(1)
and 13(2) of the Preven on of Corrup on Act, 1988, holds,

[24]. The me−tested principles are that no straitjacket formula
can be applied for grant or refusal of an cipatory bail. The judicial
discre on of the Court shall be guided by various relevant factors
and largely it will depend upon the facts and circumstances of
each case. The Court must draw a delicate balance between
liberty of an individual as guaranteed under Ar cle 21 of the
Cons tu on and the need for a fair and free inves ga on, which
must be taken to its logical conclusion. Arrest has devasta ng and
irreversible social s gma, humilia on, insult, mental pain and
other fearful consequences. Regardless thereto, when the Court,
on considera on of material informa on gathered by the
Inves ga ng Agency, is prima facie sa sfied that there is
something more than a mere needle of suspicion against the

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accused, it cannot jeopardise the inves ga on, more so when the
allega ons are grave in nature.

[31]. The nature and gravity of the alleged offence should have
been kept in mind by the High Court. Corrup on poses a serious
threat to our society and must be dealt with iron hands. It not
only leads to abysmal loss to the public exchequer but also
tramples good governance. The common man stands deprived of
the benefits percola ng under social welfare schemes and is the
worst hit. It is aptly said, “Corrup on is a tree whose branches are
of an unmeasurable length; they spread everywhere; and the dew
that drops from thence, Hath infected some chairs and stools of
authority.” Hence, the need to be extra conscious.

26. In the background of the allega ons and the light of the judicial precedents
men oned above in the facts and circumstances peculiar to this case, the pe oner fails
to make a case for an cipatory bail.

27. Any observa on made hereinabove is neither an expression of opinion on the
case’s merits, neither the court taking up regular bail nor the trial Court shall advert to
these comments.

Pe00on dismissed. Interim orders stand vacated. All pending applica ons, if any, also
stand disposed.




                                                  (ANOOP CHITKARA)
                                                      JUDGE
23.02.2024
Jyo -II

Whether speaking/reasoned:             Yes
Whether reportable:                    YES




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