Babanrao Tukaram Ranjane Vs. State of Maharashtra  Insc 323 (12 May 2006)
BALAKRISHNAN & P.K. BALASUBRAMANYAN
out of SLP (CRL.) No.959 of 2005) P.K. BALASUBRAMANYAN, J.
challenges the order of the Special Judge of the Bombay High Court rejecting
his application for bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
(hereinafter referred to as 'the Code') in C.R. No.
2002 registered at Bund Garden Police Station, Pune. The crime is one registered
under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3(2), 3(5)
and 24 of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 (hereinafter
referred to as 'the MCOCA' ) The crime was originally registered on 7.6.2002
against three accused. But, as the investigation progressed, several others
were brought in as accused and ultimately as on the day of making the
application before the Special
Court, 65 persons
have been arraigned as accused and shown as arrested. The appellant is accused
No. 62. The appellant was arrested on 8.12.2003.
It may be stated
that originally the case was being investigated by the Bombay Police. But
considering the persons involved and the alleged connivance of some of the
officials of the Bombay Police, this Court directed the handing over of the
investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (hereinafter referred to
as 'the CBI') and the CBI took up the investigation. It is submitted by the
learned counsel appearing for the CBI that amended charge-sheets have been
filed and he complained that framing of charges is being stalled by the accused
by trotting out one reason or another. Thus, though the case was ultimately
posted for framing of charges to 14.3.2006, the charges had not been framed by
the time the hearing of the appeal was concluded.
was, at the relevant time, the Deputy Superintendent of Stamps. According to
the supplementary charge-sheet, the appellant was aware of the activities of
Abdul Karim Ladas Telgi since December 1998 and was rendering help and support
in the commission of the organized crime of printing and supplying fake stamps
on a large sale and had facilitated the commission of continuing unlawful
activities of the organized crime syndicate of Telgi. The appellant had
deliberately not taken action against one licensed stamp vendor Madhav M.D. who
was a close associate of Telgi and was actively involved in the organized crime
syndicate. He had also failed to initiate legal action in the case of stamps
issued by Sanjay Sharma who was also a member of the organized crime syndicate.
The appellant was aware of the association of Madhav M.D. and Sanjay Sharma
with Telgi and his syndicate and the appellant failed to take action against
them despite specific directions from his superiors.
denied his involvement and also took the stand that he was not the person who
had to take action and that he had not failed to do anything which was enjoined
on him by law. He also contended that in any event, he cannot be found guilty
of any organized crime and no ingredient of the offence under Section 3(2) of
MCOCA was prima facie made out as against him. He pointed out that he had been
roped in by virtue of Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (for short, 'IPC') and
therefore he was entitled to be enlarged on bail. The prayer of the appellant
was opposed by submitting that the materials clearly showed the involvement of
the appellant in an organized crime and considering the magnitude of the crime
and the impact it had on society and it is likely to have on the affairs of men
and transactions, it was a fit case where no bail ought to be granted.
The Special Court, on a consideration of the relevant
materials, came to the conclusion that it was not an appropriate case for the
grant of bail. That court was inclined to the prima facie view that the
appellant had rendered help and support to the organized crime syndicate and
had knowingly facilitated the commission of an organized crime. Thus, the
application for bail was rejected.
Counsel for the appellant in challenging the order of the High Court submitted
that no prima facie case for conviction under Section 3(2) of MCOCA exists and
only if Section 3(2) is attracted, the appellant was liable for punishment of
not less than five years but which may extend to life. He submitted that even
if it is taken that Section 24 of MCOCA is attracted on the basis that as a
public servant, the appellant had failed to take action, the punishment was
only three years and the appellant having been in custody for more than two
years and three months, was entitled to be enlarged on bail. Learned counsel
emphasized the approach to be made in dealing with applications for regular
bail under Section 439 of the Code.
Counsel on behalf of the CBI submitted that this is a clear case of an
organized crime and the appellant was an insider in the conspiracy.
3(2) of MCOCA was therefore clearly applicable.
3(5) of MCOCA was also attracted. He pointed out that a charge has been
proposed by the CBI under Section 3 of the Act and if such a charge is framed,
the appellant could not be enlarged on bail without reference to Section 21(4)
of the MCOCA. He submitted that the High Court was therefore right in refusing
to grant bail to the appellant.
It is not for
this Court at this stage to go into a detailed discussion of the scope of MCOCA
or discuss in detail the materials against the appellant and the arguments for
and against on merits. But we have necessarily to keep in mind the magnitude of
the alleged crime and the consequences that have flowed from such a crime. As
far as the appellant is concerned, at this stage we have only to consider
whether he has made out a case for grant of bail. We can neither be carried
away by the catchy submission that 'bail and not jail' is the rule, nor can we
ignore the principle reflected by that catchphrase.
consideration of the relevant circumstances obtaining and taking note of the
period during which the appellant has been in custody, we are satisfied that it
is a fit case for grant of bail to the appellant. Therefore, we, in reversal of
the order of the Special Court, direct that Court to enlarge the appellant on
bail on his furnishing security to the satisfaction of that Court in a sum of
Rs.1 lac with two solvent sureties for the like amount and on his fulfilling
the other conditions of Section 438(2) of the Code. We also impose a further
condition that he should report before the Investigating Officer between 10.00 AM and 12.00 Noon
every third Saturday of the month and surrender his passport, (or file
affidavit, if he has none) before the Special Court if it is already not in its custody.
The appeal is allowed on the above