Report No. 268
D. Bail in Economic Offences
8.16 Several scams post 1992, were reported resulting in losses amounting to lakhs of crores of rupees to the economy. These include the 2G scam, Satyam Scandal, UTI Scam, Fodder scam, Harshad Mehta scam218. Approximately 73 lakh crore rupees have been lost due to economic scams since 1992. In 2012 alone, Indian economy lost almost Rs.6,600 crore219. Economic crimes inflict damage on the economy of the country in general and affect the growth, development and the global competitiveness of the nation. It also erodes confidence, financial credibility and stability of the nation internationally. It can be further seen from Table 5 below that in the last four years alone scams worth Rs. 4,000 crores have been registered.
|Value of Property Lost or Defrauded*||
Table 5: Economic Offences Registered in The Last Four Years.
Source: National Crimes Bureau, 2015
8.17 Marking the distinction for bail in economic crimes the Supreme Court in State of Gujarat v. Mohanlal Jitamalji Porwal & Anr.220 remarked that the entire society is aggrieved if the economic offenders are not brought to books as they affect the entire economy.
8.18 Gujarat High Court, while considering a bail application in the case of Champakbhai Amirbhai Vasava v. State of Gujarat 221, involving misappropriation of Rs.6 lakhs by a bank employee, the court rejected the bail application and observed that if the bank employees commit such serious offence, the customer whose amount has been lying in the bank would not be safe and secure. Offences that shake the faith of public in institutions such as banks and affect the society at large cannot be said to be cases fit for bail.
While dealing with a bail application under the Customs Act, 1962 in Lalit Goel v. Commissioner of Central Excise222, the Supreme Court observed that the economic offences constitute a class apart and have to be approached differently while deciding on bail. Further, in Suresh Chandra Ramanlal v. State of Gujarat223, a case involving cheating and forgery in relation to funds in a bank, the Supreme Court while granting bail on verified medical grounds, imposed a rigorous condition that petitioner would deposit a sum of Rs.40 lakhs with the bank in four monthly instalments.
8.19 In Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy v. CBI 224 the Supreme Court held that while granting bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support thereof, the severity of the punishment the offence may entail, the character of the person accused of an offence, circumstances which are peculiar to such accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused person at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses tampering, the larger interests of the public/state and other similar considerations. The Supreme Court rejected the application for bail as it felt that it may hamper the investigation. Unfortunately in the last few years, the country has seen an alarming rise in white-collar crimes, which has affected the very fibre of the country's economic structure225. Such crimes for personal financial gains are an anathema to the basic tenet of democracy, for it erodes the faith of the people in the system226. Therefore there is a necessity to impose stringent conditions while granting bail.