Nanjappa Vs. Union of
Insc 415 (17 April 2007)
CJI K G Balakrishnan & R V Raveendran
(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.6030/2006) RAVEENDRAN, J.
The Order dated 25.8.2006 passed by the High Court of Karnataka rejecting
Criminal Petition No. 1021 of 2006 filed by the Appellant under section 439 of
Criminal Procedure Code is under challenge.
2. The Circle Inspector of Police, Upparpet Police Station, Bangalore City
registered an FIR relating to counterfeit stamps and stamp-papers as Crime No.
545 of 2000 against Abdul Karim Telgi, in respect of offences punishable under
sections 255 to 260, 265, 467, 468, 471 to 475, 420 read with section 120B IPC.
Thereafter, the investigation was taken up by Stamp Investigation Team (for
short 'STAMPIT') and on the basis of its report, Crime No. 1100/2002 was
registered at Madiwala Police Station, Bangalore, on 16.10.2002 for offences
punishable under section 120B, 255 to 258, 260 and 420 IPC read with section
63B of Karnataka Stamp Act 1957 against the said Abdul Karim Telgi and others.
3. After further investigation, P.N. Jayasimha, Senior Superintendent of
Central Prison, Bangalore, and the appellant (working as Asst.
Superintendent of Central Prison, Bangalore) were impleaded as Accused Nos.
32 and 33 under supplementary charge-sheet filed in Crime No.
1100/2002 alleging that they had committed offences punishable under
sections 7, 12, 13(1)(d) read with section 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption
Act, 1988 and sections 3, 4 and 25 of Karnataka Control of Organized Crimes
Act, 2000 ('KCOC Act' for short). It was alleged that the appellant was working
as the Assistant Superintendent of Central Prison, Parrappana Agrahara,
Bangalore with effect from 09.8.2001; that Abdul Karim Telgi was arrested on
07.11.2001 and lodged in the said prison as an under-trial prisoner; and that
Appellant and Jayasimha conspired with A. K. Telgi and in contravention of the
prison rules and regulations, permitted and facilitated A. K. Telgi to use
mobile phone for his unlawful activities, to run his fake stamp business from
the Jail and also to celebrate a party within the jail premises, all for
4. The appellant, who was arrested on 9.12.2003, moved an application for
bail before the Special (35th Addl. City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bangalore)
on 23.3.2005. The said application was rejected on 18.6.2005.
Therefore, the appellant filed Criminal Petition No. 1021 of 2006 before the
High Court on 28.2.2006 seeking bail. The High Court rejected the petition by
Order dated 25.8.2006, on the ground that the case was already set down for
framing of charges and having regard to the gravity of the offence, it was not
a fit case to grant bail to him at that stage. The Court, however, reserved
liberty to the appellant to move a similar application in the month of January,
2007 if the trial was not concluded by then. The said order is challenged in
this appeal by special leave.
5. It is submitted on behalf of the appellant that he was neither a member
of the Telgi's crime syndicate nor had he helped A. K. Telgi and his associates
in any manner to carry on his illegal activities in Jail. It is further
submitted that the High Court merely referred to the submissions of both sides
briefly and then proceeded to reject the petition for bail by merely observing
that it was not a fit case for grant of bail having regard to the gravity of
the offence and nature of crime, without recording any finding that the
material prima facie disclosed commission of any offence by the appellant
punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act or KCOC Act.
6. Section 25 of KCOC Act provides that any public servant who renders any
help or support in any manner in the commission of organized crime as defined
under section 2(c), whether before or after the commission of any offence by a
member of any organized crime syndicate or abstains from taking lawful measures
under the Act or intentionally avoids to carry out the directions of any court
or any superior police officers in that respect, shall be punished with
imprisonment which may extend to three years and also fine.
Section 3(2) of KCOC Act provides that any person who conspires or abets or
knowingly facilitates the commission of an organized crime or any act
preparatory to organized crime shall be punishable with imprisonment which may
extend to life, but not less than five years. Section 4 of KCOC Act provides
for a punishment ranging from 3 to 10 years for possessing unaccounted wealth
on behalf of a member of organized crime syndicate.
For offences punishable under section 7 or 12 of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, the punishment is imprisonment for a term not less than six
months but extending upto five years.
7. The appellant has already been in Jail for more than three years and four
months. Charges were framed only in August, 2006 and 256 witnesses have been
cited. The trial in the criminal case is likely to take a long time for
completion. Having regard to the nature of involvement alleged and the role
attributed to the appellant, and the period already spent by the appellant in
Jail, we find it a fit case for grant of bail to the appellant.
8. We accordingly allow this appeal, set aside the order of the High Court
and direct the Special Judge [35th Addl. City Civil and Sessions Judge],
Bangalore, to enlarge the appellant on bail on furnishing security to his
satisfaction in a sum of Rupees Fifty Thousand with two solvent sureties for
like sums. The appellant shall comply with the conditions enumerated in Section
438(2) Cr.P.C. and also surrender his passport, if any, before the Special