C.B.I., Hyderabad Vs.
Edwin Devasahayam  Insc 735 (13 July 2007)
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT & D.K. JAIN
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
1. This appeal is directed against the judgment rendered by a learned Single
Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, directing acquittal of the respondent
(hereinafter described as 'accused'). The Trial Court, i.e., Special Judge for
C.B.I. Cases, Hyderabad in Calendar Case No.80 of 1996, had held the respondent
guilty of offence punishable under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption
Act, 1988 (in short 'the Act'), while directing his acquittal in respect of the
offence punishable under Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Act.
He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months and also to
pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- with default stipulation.
2. The prosecution version, as unfolded during trial, is as follows:
The accused herein is a public servant. He demanded a sum of Rs.300/- from
PW-1, a Traveling Ticket Examiner in South Central Railway on 11.1.1995 and
accepted the same on 16.1.1995 at 5.40 p.m.
PW-1 was working as TTE in South Central Railway and the accused was working
as Assistant Commercial Manager, Ticket Checking Division. He was the
controlling authority of PW-1, who joined in Railway service in the year 1981
as Clerk in Hubli Division. In the year 1989-1990 he was promoted as Ticket
Collector. The performance of PW-1 was not satisfactory. Therefore, he was
repatriated to Hubli Division.
However, the accused cancelled those orders. The accused was not granting
leave to PW-1. During January 1995, PW-1 went to the accused with an
application to grant leave for 10 days.
Then the accused asked whether he has taken the charge- sheet issued against
him. Thereupon, PW-1 replied that it was not served on him but he collected the
same from the Chief Ticket Inspector's office. Ex. P.1 is the charge sheet
After receiving the charge sheet, PW-1 went to the office of the accused and
explained him orally about the charges leveled against him. The accused told
PW-1 that he was prepared to grant leave if he gives explanation to the charges
in writing immediately. PW-1 refused to give explanation immediately. The leave
application given by PW-1 was torn away by the accused stating that he would
pass the orders of repatriation.
On 12.1.1995 PW-1 met the accused and asked for cancellation of repatriation
orders and also for leave. Then the accused allegedly demanded a sum of
Rs.300/- as consideration for the work. PW-1 left the office of the accused
saying that he will get the money.
On 14.1.1995 PW-1 was present at Sankranti Mela organized by Rail Nilayam.
The accused was also posted there.
In the Mela the accused asked PW-1 whether he brought full money. PW-1
replied that since the banks were closed, he could not get the money and that
he would pay the money after the banks reopen.
On 16.1.1995 PW-1 went to PW-8, the CBI Inspector. On the basis of the
complaint given by PW-1, he registered the case in R.C. 2 (a)/95, Hyderabad
against the accused. Ex.
P.14 is the FIR. PW-8 took up further investigation. He mobilized two
persons to act as mediators for the trap. On 16.1.1995, he prepared first
mediators report Ex. P.5 in the presence of trap party which included the
mediator PW-2 and other CBI officers. PW-2 was instructed to accompany PW-1 to
give a signal by wiping the face when the accused accepts the money.
The trap party proceeded to the office of the accused at about 5 p.m. At about 5.25 p.m., PWs. 1 and 2 entered into the office of the accused where the
other members of the trap party stood outside the office. At about 5.40 p.m. PW-2 came out of the office and gave pre-arranged signal. The entire trap party
entered into the office. PW-8 questioned the accused who told him that money was
kept in the left side shirt pocket.
When questioned by the trap party, the accused told them that the money was
returned as hand loan taken by PW-1 from him on 15.1.1995 in the presence of
PW-3. After complying with all formalities, the second mediator's report Ex.
P-7 was prepared. PW-8 seized M.Os. 1 to 5 and other documents during the trap.
PW-8 investigated into the matter and thus on completion of investigation, the
charge sheet was filed.
3. After investigation, charge sheet was filed. The defence of the accused
was of total denial and, therefore, the trial was conducted. On behalf of the
prosecution, 8 witnesses were examined and certain documents were exhibited as
exhibits P.1 to P.14. On behalf of the accused one witness was examined. On consideration
of the evidence on record, the trial court, as noted above, found the
respondent-accused guilty. The trial court did not find any substance in the
stand of the accused that there was defect in the sanction accorded.
It was urged that the Secretary Railway Board/Director could not have
signed/issued the order of sanction. The trial court held that the Secretary
was competent to sign/issue the order.
It was also the stand of the accused that since the Secretary was not
examined to prove the sanction order, therefore, it was fatal to the
prosecution. This plea was also not accepted by the trial court. It was noted
that PW-7, who was well conversant with the Secretary's signature, and had
knowledge of the sanction order (Exhibit P.13) had been examined. He was the
then Joint Director (Vigilance) of the Railway Board. A categorical finding was
recorded that the Railway Board which was the authority to accord sanction had,
in fact, accorded sanction under Section 19(1) of the Act for prosecution of
the accused. The entire record along with self-contained note was put up by the
Secretary and the Member (Traffic) Board approved the same. One Member of the
Board was competent to give sanction. The trial court noted that a reading of
the sanction order prima facie shows that there has been application of mind
and all the relevant materials have been examined by the concerned officer. The
trial court also noted that non-examination of the sanctioning authority is not
fatal when the sanction order contained details showing application of mind by
the concerned authority. The non-examination of the Secretary of the Railway
Board was held to be not vulnerable. On merits also, the trial court found that
the accusations against the respondent have been established. In the appeal
filed, it was contended by the accused that the entire file had not been placed
before the Board and the evidence of PW-7 established the same. The High Court
noted that with reference to the materials on record it was satisfied that the
accused was guilty of accepting the bribe and was liable to be punished for
offence punishable under Section 7 of the Act, but on technical ground that the
entire record was not placed before the Railway Board or its President, the
sanction was held to be defective.
4. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the High Court having
accepted that materials on record are sufficient to establish the accusations,
should not have interfered with the well-reasoned order of the trial court
holding the accused guilty. The issue relating to sanction was examined at
length by the trial court. It was held that the Secretary was authorized to
sign/issue the order. The Board alone was competent to accord sanction. PW-7
had in categorical terms stated that it was not necessary for the entire Board
to sit and take a decision and only the Member (Traffic) was the competent
authority who could have and had, in fact, accorded sanction for prosecution.
It was also specifically stated that one Member of the Board can sit as the
Board as per the Board's Rules. There was no material before the High Court to
come to the conclusion that the entire record was not placed before the Board.
On the contrary, with reference to the evidence of PW-7 and the materials on
record the trial court had held that all relevant records were placed before
the Board. Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that PW-7 had accepted
that he had not produced the rules authorizing the Secretary to sign the
It was also submitted that if the sanction itself is defective, the trial is
5. It is to be noted that before the trial court the stand of the respondent
was in relation to the authority of the Secretary to sign the sanction order.
The trial court, after analyzing the materials on record, came to hold that the
Secretary had the authority. Before the trial court there was no plea raised
that the relevant records were not placed before the Board. The plea relating
to lack of authority of the Secretary appears to have been given up before the
High Court and what seems to have been urged is that the relevant records were
not placed before the Board. The trial court had categorically noted that all
the relevant records were placed by the Secretary before the Member (Traffic).
Without indicating any basis for the conclusion that records were not placed
for consideration, the High Court could not have drawn an adverse conclusion
that the relevant records were not produced before the Board.
6. Though learned counsel for the respondent urged that nothing was shown to
substantiate the stand that Member (Traffic) could act as the Board, the same
has no substance. In the re-examination, PW-7 has categorically stated that it
was not necessary for the entire Board to sit and, as per the Board's Rules,
the Member (Traffic) was authorized and competent to accord sanction. There was
no cross- examination. Provisions contained in Section 19(3) of the Act also
need to be noted. The principles relating to alleged defect in sanction have
been highlighted by this Court in Central Bureau of Investigation v. V.K.
Sehgal and Anr. (1999 (8) SCC 501) and Shankerbhai Laljibhai Rot v. State of Gujarat
(2004 (13) SCC 487). Learned counsel for the respondent has placed great
emphasis in State Inspector of Police, Vishakhapatnam v. Surva Sankaram Karri
(2006 (7) SCC 172) more particularly in paragraphs 25 and 26 thereof. There is
no quarrel with the principles laid down in that decision. But, on facts of the
present case, it has not been shown that there was any defect in the sanction
and the High Court was not justified in taking a contrary view. This being the
position, the order of the High Court is unsustainable and is set aside and
that of the trial court is restored.
7. The appeal is allowed accordingly.