High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Mohinder Singh v. Central Bureau of Investigation - CRM-68406-M-2006  RD-P&H 1197 (5 February 2007)
Crl. Misc. No.68406-M of 2006
Date of decision: January 24, 2007.
Central Bureau of Investigation
Present: Shri Vikram Chaudhri, Advocate for the petitioner.
Shri Rajan Gupta, Advocate,
Special Public Prosecutor, for the respondent.
Surya Kant, J. (Oral)
The prayer in this petition is to release the petitioner on regular bail in case FIR No.RCCHG 2004A 0012/7.5.2004, under sections 420, 468, 471, 193 and 120-B IPC, registered at Police Station CBI, ACB, Chandigarh.
Briefly stated, the allegations against the petitioner are that he, in connivance with Shri SPS Choudhan, Advocate and the latter's junior, Shri V.P. Kaushal, Advocate, obtained an award of compensation through fraudulent means in respect of accidental death of his father, which had taken place on 29.4.1998. It is alleged that the FIR regarding the motor vehicular accident, in which the petitioner's father died on 29.4.1998 at 8.15 p.m., was registered against an unknown vehicle. However, Vehicle No.HIS 827 was implicated in the accident on the false statement of the petitioner and the owner as well as the driver of the said vehicle also owned false responsibility of the said accident after receiving a sum of Rs.10,000/- from Shri SPS Chauhan. It is further alleged that though one of the claimants, namely, Smt. Dyal Kaur, mother of the petitioner had died on 15.9.2001, he produced his mother-in-law, Smt. Krishni Devi, who impersonated as Dyal Kaur and received compensation in terms of the award passed on 19.1.2002.
The above stated FIR has been registered under the directions issued by a Division Bench of this Court on 19.4.2004 in Civil Writ Petition No.6382 of 2004. The FIR was registered on 7.5.2004. As the investigation required close scrutiny of voluminous records pertaining to several alleged fake MACT claim cases, the CBI could submit its report under section 173 Cr.P.C. on 17.9.2006, i.e., after a period of more than two years and four months.
There is no denial to the fact that during the long period of investigation, the petitioner was neither arrested nor his custodial interrogation was required by the CBI. From the reply and additional affidavit filed on behalf of the investigating agency, there appears to be no specific denial to the fact that the petitioner, as and when required by the investigating agency, did appear and joined the investigation.
However, it appears that upon presentation of the challan when summons were issued to the petitioner and other accused persons, he put in appearance before the learned trial Magistrate on 12.10.2006 and was taken into judicial custody on that very day. The petitioner is in custody since then.
From the record of this case and that of the connected case as well, it does appear that whereas some of the accused have been granted pre-arrest bail, a few of them have been granted ad-interim pre-arrest bail.
The petitioner's prayer for regular bail, however, is vehemently opposed by learned Standing Counsel-cum-Special Public Prosecutor for the CBI on the ground that:- (i) the petitioner along with his associates have been running a racket of claiming false MACT claims, therefore, the circumstances demand that they should not be granted bail at this stage; (ii) there is every likelihood of the petitioner tampering with the prosecution evidence and influencing the prosecution witnesses, especially Smt. Krishni Devi mother-in-law, who is presently an approver and prosecution witness.
There is no denial to the fact that during the investigation, the petitioner's custodial interrogation was not required by the CBI. At this stage, when the investigation is over and challan has already been presented, the apprehension expressed by the investigating agency that he may influence the prosecution witnesses also appears to be a mere angst only for the simple reason that when Smt. Krishni Devi turned an approver of the investigating agency, the petitioner was not in judicial custody and if he could not exert his influence at that stage, there appears to be no cogent reason to apprehend the same at this stage.
That apart, there is a marked distinction in respect of the allegations levelled by the prosecution against the petitioner on the one hand and several other accused on the other hand. As may be noticed from the report under section 173 Cr.P.C., as also the reply and additional affidavit filed in the present petition, the petitioner is accused of having secured compensation in respect of the accidental death of his father through fraudulent and deceitful means. It is not the case of the CBI that the petitioner, in connivance or collusion with other accused, has been running a racket to claim such like compensation in some other cases also.
At the same time, it is neither desirable nor expedient to express any views in relation to the merits of the allegations lest it should prejudice either of the parties.
As the trial is yet to commence formally and conclusion thereof will take a considerably long period, I allow this petition. The petitioner is directed to be released on bail to the satisfaction of Special Magistrate, CBI at Ambala.
January 24, 2007. [ Surya Kant ]
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