Reddy Vs. State of A.P  Insc 29 (11 January 2005)
Singh & Arun Kumar B.P.Singh,J.
for substitution is allowed.
this appeal by special appeal the judgment and order of the High Court of
judicature of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad dated 20th
November, 1998 in
Criminal Appeal No.196/94 has been challenged.
High Court by its impugned judgment and order affirmed the conviction of the
appellant under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). The
High Court upheld the sentence of one year rigorous imprisonment under Section
7 of the Act but reduced the sentence of one and a half years under Section
13(1)(a) read with Section 13(2) of the Act to one year rigorous imprisonment.
facts of the case are that at the relevant time the appellant was In-charge
General Manager of the District Industries Centre at Ongole. His co-accused was
an Attender in the District Industries Centre.
case of the prosecution is that PW-1 Samapathkumar wanted to set up a small
scale industry and for that purpose he was required to apply for registration
of the industry as a small scale industry. On 29.7.1991 at 10.00 A.M. he met the appellant in his office, who demanded a
sum of Rs.200/- for granting him the requisite certificate. On the persuasion
of PW- 1 he reduced the amount to Rs.150/-. Similarly, the co-accused who was a
Attender in the same office initially demanded Rs.30/- and later reduced the
sum to Rs.20/- for getting the certificate signed and issued from the office.
very next day i.e. 30th
July, 1991 the
complainant PW-1 went to the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Anti Corruption
Branch and lodged a report, but the same was not registered immediately. On the
following day, however, i.e. on July 1, 1991 a first information report was registered and a trap was
arranged by DSP,ACB PW-5. Thereafter, PW-1 went to the office of the appellant
and after handing over the marked currency notes to the appellant as well as to
the co-accused gave a signal pursuant to which DSP,ACB PW-5 who was waiting
outside for a signal, entered the room of the appellant and recovered tainted
currency notes from the right side pocket of his trousers. In fact, the
appellant himself took out the currency notes and handed them over to PW-5.
Similarly, the tainted currency notes were recovered from the co-accused. At
that time the appellant gave the explanation that the amount had been paid to
him towards payment of challan. It is stated before us that every application
made for the registration of a small scale industrial unit has to be
accompanied with a challan of Rs.50/- being the fees payable on such
appellant as well as co-accused A-2 were put up for trial before the Special
Judge for SPE &ACB Cases, Nellore. The
trial court after considering the evidence of witnesses produced by the
prosecution including the evidence of PW-1 Samapathkumar and the DSP,ACB PW-5
found the appellant guilty of the offences with which he was charged and
sentenced him to undergo one year's rigorous imprisonment and to pay a fine of
for Rs.500/- under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In default of
payment of fine, he was to undergo imprisonment for one month. Under Section
13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Act, the appellant was sentenced to
undergo one and a half years rigorous imprisonment and to pay fine of Rs.500/-
in default to undergo one month's imprisonment. The trial court, however,
acquitted the co-accused A-2 of the charges levelled against him.
State of Andhra Pradesh as well as appellant herein
preferred appeals before the High Court. The High Court by its impugned
judgment and order affirmed the conviction of the appellant while reducing the
sentence to one year under Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Act.
The appeal preferred by the State against the acquittal of A-2 was rejected.
this appeal, it was contended by learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
appellant that PW-1 Samapathkumar is in fact, a journalist. He was not a bona
fide applicant interested in setting up a small scale industry. He only wanted
to get the appellant involved in a criminal case out of personal grudge. It was
submitted that another journalist namely, one Prasad had misbehaved with one Chander
Shekhar, who was working in the office of the District Industrial Centre and
since the aforesaid Chander Shekhar had reported the matter to the appellant
herein, the appellant had forwarded his complaint to the police for
registration of a case. For this reason PW-1 bore a grudge against the
appellant and he got him falsely involved in this case. Learned counsel also
drew our attention to the explanation offered by the appellant in the course of
investigation as also his statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. The explanation
furnished by the appellant was that PW-1 had indeed approached him for filing
an application for registration of the unit which he intended to set up as a
small scale industry. He had not demanded any amount from him by way of illegal
gratification. On the date and time in question he had given him three currency
notes of Rs.50/- each. The amount payable by way of challan was only Rs.50/-
for one application. However, PW-1 left his office leaving the three currency
notes on his table stating that he shall be making two more applications and
that he shall come back within half an hour with those two applications. So
saying PW-1 Samapathkumar left his chamber and thereafter re-entered his
chamber along with DSP,ACB PW-5. He has also explained that since the amount
had been kept on a corner of the table, it fell on the ground and he picked up
the currency notes and put them in his pocket.
thus appears that the appellant had not denied the fact that PW-1 gave him a
sum of Rs.150/- which was recovered from his pocket by PW-5.
only question which arises for consideration is whether the amount was paid to
him by way of illegal gratification or it was paid for any other lawful
purpose. The sole question, therefore, is whether the explanation offered by
the appellant can be accepted.
not attach much importance to the fact that PW-1 may not be a genuine applicant
for registration of a small scale industrial unit. That fact is wholly
immaterial in judging the guilt of the appellant. PW-1 has stated that he had
met the appellant on 29.7.1991 at 10.00 A.M. and the appellant had made the demand. On the next day, he had reported
the matter to the police and thereafter, on 31st July, 1991 a trap was arranged and the amount was recovered from him.
explanation offered by the appellant is most unconvincing. If an applicant is
required to pay a sum of Rs.50/- by way of fee on the application for
registration of a small scale industrial unit, the same has to be paid in the
treasury under a challan. It is unbelievable that an applicant would go to the
General Manager of the District Industrial Centre and pay him in cash the
amount which is required to be deposited in the treasury with a challan. Apart
from this, the fact remains that the sum recovered is Rs.150/- and not Rs.50/-
which was the fee payable for one application. The explanation of the appellant
is that Rs.100/- had been paid to him in advance for two applications which
were yet to be made. The explanation is wholly unconvincing and there appears
to be no special reason for the appellant to show such a favour to the
complainant PW-1. In normal course it was expected that the applicant would
deposit the amount in the treasury and file a receipted challan with his
application for registration of his small scale industrial unit.
have, therefore, no hesitation in rejecting the explanation offered by the
appellant as has been done by the courts below. We, therefore, find no reason
to set aside the conviction and sentence passed against the appellant.
stated before us that the appellant died on 17th May, 2004 and his legal representatives have been brought on record.
Since the result of this appeal may affect the payment of dues to the family of
the appellant, the legal representatives have pursued this appeal before this
result, this appeal is dismissed.
may, however, observe that no counsel appeared for the State of Andhra Pradesh in this matter to oppose the