Raj Rajendra Singh
Seth @ R.R.S. Seth Vs. The State of Jharkhand and ANR  INSC 1204 (22 July
JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2008 (Arising Out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 1728
of 2004) Raj Rajendra Singh Seth @ R.R.S. Seth ...Appellant Versus The State of
Jharkhand and Anr. ...Respondents
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment rendered by a learned Single Judge of the
Jharkhand High Court. Two appeals were filed by the present appellant and one
Nag Narain who was accused no.2 questioning correctness of the judgment dated
4th December, 1997 and order of sentence dated 16.12.1997 passed by the Special
Judge, CBI, Ranchi in R.C. case No.15 of 1998. Learned Special Judge held the
appellants guilty of offence punishable under Sections 120B and 161 of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC') and also under Section 5(2) read
with Section 5(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (in short the `Act').
Each of them was sentenced to undergo RI for one year and to pay a fine of
Rs.5,00/- with default stipulation.
version as unfolded during trial is as follows:
A written complaint
was made to S.P. CBI, Dhanbad on 1.9.1985 by one Raju Hadi, Safayi Mazdoor of
Pathological Laboratory Area-9, BCCL, Dhanbad alleging therein that he had
visited Chamodih Dispensary in connection with treatment of his father Sri
Hublal Hadi who was examined by Doctor L.B. Sah, who referred him to Central
Hospital, Dhanbad. Hublal Hadi was admitted in Bed No.16 ENT Department of
Central Hospital on 29.8.1985. Raju Hadi had been to the hospital on 31.8.1985
to see his ailing father and his ailing father complained of lack of proper
treatment and he requested him to meet the concerned doctor, Raju Hadi
ascertained that his father was under the treatment of Dr. R.R.S. Seth, the
appellant. He requested Nag Narain to allow him to meet Dr. R.R.S. Seth and met
Dr. R.R.S. Seth, who demanded a sum of Rs.500/- from him for giving proper
medical treatment to his father and also insisted that the amount be paid on
1.9.1985. The doctor also told Raju Hadi that in case he was not available in
the hospital, he would pay the amount to his ward boy Nag Narain, who would
pass the amount to him. Since Raju Hadi was not willing to make the payment of
bribe amount to the doctor and ward boy, he lodged a complaint to the S.P. CBI,
Dhanbad for taking necessary action.
On the basis of
complaint, verification was made and on getting confirmation report, Sri R.C.
Choudhary, Inspector, registered the complaint on 1.9.1985 and took up the
investigation. The I.O. obtained the services of the two independent witnesses
Devraj Prasad Sinha (PW-2) and Ved Prakash Pahuja (PW-1). These two independent
witnesses reported before Shri R.C. Choudhary in the office of the CBI.
Thereafter members of
the CBI formed a raiding party and this party also assembled before him. After
formal introduction of each other, the purpose of assembly was explained and
practical demonstration regarding the purpose and use of phenolphthalein powder
and chemical reaction with sodium carbonate was given in the immediate presence
of two independent witnesses and the members of raiding party.
was over, the informant Raju Hadi was asked to produce a sum of Rs.500/- (five
G.C.C. notes of rupees one hundred denomination each) and he produced the same
and numbers of these notes were noted down and these G.C.C. notes were tainted
with phenolphthalein powder and handed over to Raju Hadi. The informant was
directed to pay the amount to the accused only on demand. Instructions were
also issued to the witnesses and the members of the raiding party to play their
respective parts before and after trap. All these practical demonstrations were
noted down and 4
demonstration chart was prepared on which all the members of the raiding party
made their respective signatures.
formalities, PW3 and others members of the team including independent witnesses
proceeded towards Central Hospital and PW2 was directed to shadow PW3 and to
hear conversation in between the PW3 and the appellants.
When they reached
Central Hospital and went to the chamber of appellant Dr. Seth, chamber was
found locked but informant met other appellant Nag Narain and PW3 paid the
tainted money amounting to Rs.500/- to Nag Narain who kept the same in his
right pocket of his shirt and asked PW3 to proceed with him to the residence of
Dr. Seth as he will give money in his presence and PW3 appellant Nag Narain
proceeded from Central Hospital to the residence of Dr. Seth and PW2 and other
members of the team were following them.
When PW3 remained
near the gate, other persons of the team remained outside the gate. On reaching
burand of the house, appellant Nag Narain pressed call bell whereupon appellant
Dr. Seth opened the door and came out and he gave money to him. In the
meantime, PW2 who saw this came out of the gate and gave signal and thereafter
members of the team pounced upon them introducing themselves as CBI officials
and they caught Dr. Seth and recovered money from his possession, Nag Narain
was also caught. Thereafter right hand of Dr. Seth was dipped in a solution
which turned pink and this solution was kept in a bottle and sealed. Similarly,
left hand of Dr. Seth was also dipped in another solution which also turned
pink and this solution was also Kept in a separate bottle and sealed. At the
same time, right hand of appellant Nag Narain was dipped in similar solution
which also turned pink and was kept in a bottle and sealed. Similarly left hand
of Nag Narain was also dipped in another solution which also turned pink and
this solution was also kept in a bottle and sealed.
His shirt was also
dipped in a solution and that solution turned pink and that solution was kept
in a bottle and sealed.
Thereafter members of
the team put their respective signatures on all the bottles which were sealed.
Thereafter post-trap formalities were carried out at the premises of Dr. Seth,
upon which all the members of the team put their respective signatures. Both
Nag Narain and Dr. Seth were later arrested soon after recovery of money. After
investigation of the case charge sheet in the case was submitted and cognizance
of the case was taken and learned court below in course of trial recorded
evidence of witnesses of both sides and marked exhibits of documents produced
on behalf of both sides and ultimately came to a conclusion and held both the
appellants guilty and accordingly, convicted them and sentenced them.
two accused persons filed appeals before the High Court. Their stand was that
there are a lot of contradictions in the evidence of witnesses. It was
submitted that everything was pre-planned and conspiracy was hatched to falsely
implicate the appellant. It was highlighted that so much preparations were made
before trap, but it is not clear as to who recovered the money from the hands
of the appellant. It was stated that PW8 was the brain behind the so-called
considering the rival stands the High Court held that the accusations were
established but considering passage of time reduced the sentence to the period
support of the appeal learned counsel for the appellant submitted that both the
Trial Court as well as the High Court lost sight of the following features:
(1) No demand was
(2) Role of PW-8 is
highly suspicious and his evidence lacks of
(3) There were no
(4) There was no
positive evidence as to who had recovered the money as claimed by the
prosecution from the appellant.
counsel for the respondent, on the other hand submitted that both the Trial
Court as well as the High Court have analyzed the evidence in great detail and
there is no infirmity in the impugned judgment.
has been made of the fact that most of the witnesses were in the same office.
The evidence is to the effect that the appellant had asked PW-3 to pay money to
co- accused Nag Narain who was to pass the money to him. PW-2 in his evidence
has categorically stated that the decision was taken in CBI office that money
is to be paid to Nag Narain who has made payment to the accused. Similarly,
PW-10 while making verification about the genuineness of the allegations made
by PW-3 has stated that he went to the residence of the appellant and he hid
himself behind the bush and from there he heard talks between PW-3 and
appellant. He has stated that the appellant asked PW-3 to make payment to Nag
Narain. PW-3 corroborated this part of the statement of PW- 10 who is a
constable. He was entrusted with the job to verify the genuineness of the
allegations made by PW-3. He went to his Chamber and Nag Narain was present
there. PWs 1 and 2 were independent witnesses and in their presence money was
delivered to Nag Narain by PW-3. This was done because when PW-3 and others
reached at the hospital, the chamber was found locked. PW-3 met Nag Narain and
paid money to him and proceeded to residence of the appellant. After reaching
there PW-3 and Nag Narain went inside the gate and PW-2 and others remained at
the gate. It is clear from the evidence that the appellant came out after the
call bell was pressed and Nag Narain passed the money to him. PW-2 who saw passing
of money to the appellant, gave a signal and immediately thereafter Nag Narain
and the appellant were arrested and money was recovered from the right hand of
the appellant and both the hands of the accused persons were washed in separate
solution and they turned pink. The currency notes were also recovered and the
requisite formalities were followed. The plea that there is no demand made by
the appellant is clearly belied by the evidence on record. The evidence clearly
establishes that the appellant had asked the money to be passed on to Nag
Narain who in turn handed over the money to the appellant.
B. Noha v. State of Kerala and Anr. (2006 (12) SCC 277) it was, inter alia,
observed by this Court as follows:
evidence shows that when PW-1 told the accused that he had brought the money as
directed by the accused, the accused asked PW-1 to take cut and give the same
to him. When it is proved that there was voluntary and conscious acceptance of
the money, there is no further burden cast on the prosecution to prove by
direct evidence, the demand or motive. It has only to be deduced from the facts
and circumstances obtained in the particular case. It was held by this Court in
Madhukar Bhaskarrao Joshi v. State of Maharashtra (2000 (8) SCC 571) as
"12. The premise
to be established on the facts for drawing the presumption is that there was
payment or acceptance of gratification. Once the said premise is established
the inference to be drawn is that the said gratification was accepted `as
motive or reward' for doing or forbearing to do any official act. So the word
`gratification' need not be stretched to mean reward because reward is the
outcome of the presumption which the court has to draw on the factual premises
that there was payment of gratification.
This will again be
fortified by looking at the collocation of two expressions adjacent to each
other like `gratification or any valuable thing'. If acceptance of any valuable
thing can help to draw the presumption that it was accepted as motive or reward
for doing or forbearing to do an official act, the word `gratification' must be
treated in the 11 context to mean any payment for giving satisfaction to the
public servant who received it."
11. This decision was
followed by this Court in M. Narsinga Rao v. State of A.P. (2001 (1) SCC 691).
There is no case of the accused that the said amount was received by him as the
amount which he was legally entitled to receive or collect from PW-1. It was
held in the decision in State of A.P. v. Kommaraju Gopala Krishna Murthy (2000
(9) SCC 752), that when amount is found to have been passed to the public
servant the burden is on public servant to establish that it was not by way of
illegal gratification. That burden was not discharged by the accused."
the case at hand all the requisites for proving the demand and acceptance of
bribe have been established.
is, therefore, no merit in this appeal which is accordingly dismissed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)