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Anti-Corruption Branch Of Delhi Govt Can Investigate Corruption Allegations Against Delhi Police Officials: High Court

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The Delhi High Court recently rejected the argument set forth by an official of the Delhi Police that the corruption allegations levelled against him cannot be investigated by the Anti Corruption Branch of the Delhi government for the reason that the agency falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In doing so, Justice Jasmeet Singh relied on Anil Kumar v. GNCT of Delhi where it was held that since the Delhi Police personnel serve the citizens in the national capital and the functions of the agency substantially and essentially relate to the affairs of Delhi, the Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi government has the jurisdiction to entertain and act on a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act in respect of a Delhi Police officer, and to investigate and prosecute the crime.

The bench observed,

Any official of the Central government accused of corruption cannot get away with the mere technicality of the Anti Corruption Branch not investigating them. When a complaint is made to an authority in charge, it is the duty of that authority to duly investigate and look into the said allegations. They may after due diligence, transfer the matter to the concerned authority to look into the same but they have the right to investigate the same at the time of lodging of the complaint.

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by a Sub Inspector in Delhi Police accused of taking bribery, seeking quashing and setting aside of the order on charge passed by Special Judge (PC Act) in which charges under sec. 7, 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act were framed.

The complainant in the matter had applied for an Arms licence and it was alleged that the petitioner visited his residence for inquiry regarding the same.

It was further submitted in the complaint that the petitioner asked the complainant to pay a bribe of Rs. 20,000 for sending his report for grant of Arms licence and after some negotiation the petitioner reduced the amount to Rs. 10,000. The complainant, thus, handed over a sum of Rs. 1,000 to the petitioner, recorded the conversation and provided a CD of the same later on.

It was thus alleged that the petitioner contacted the complainant to meet him for collecting the remaining balance amount of Rs. 9,000.

Subsequently, on personal search of the petitioner, 10 GC notes of denomination of 500 and 4 notes of Rs. 1,000 amounting to a total of Rs. 9,000 were recovered from his right hand and the serial number of the recovered currency notes tallied with the serial numbers noted in the pre- raid proceedings. During investigation, the petitioner was interrogated and an FIR was lodged against him.

The petitioner had approached the Court on the ground that he was exonerated in departmental proceedings and according to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ashoo Surendranath Tewari v. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, criminal proceedings cannot continue against him.

It was also added that the petitioner was a Sub Inspector in Delhi Police and thus the Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Government had no jurisdiction to investigate the offence against a Sub Inspector working in Delhi Police which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Court noted that the complainant himself deposed during the departmental enquiry that he offered a bribe for his timely verification and the petitioner herein declined it.

“The recording of the demand and subsequent filing of FIR by the complainant seems vitiated and not reliable under circumstances discussed above,” the Court said.

The Court was of the view that when departmental proceedings and the criminal proceedings were a mirror image of each other and the petitioner was exonerated on merits in the departmental inquiry, the criminal proceedings on the same set of facts and circumstances cannot be permitted to be continued.

The Court also said that the standard of proof in departmental proceedings is much lower than the standard of proof in criminal proceedings.

However, rejecting the petitioner’s argument that since he was a Sub Inspector in Delhi Police, the Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Government would have no jurisdiction to investigate the offence, the Court observed thus:

“…..the argument of the petitioner that the ACB would not have jurisdiction to investigate into his case on the basis of a complaint made to them, cannot be sustained. Any official of the Central government accused of corruption cannot get away with the mere technicality of the Anti Corruption Branch not investigating them.”

The Court allowed the plea after opining that the petitioner was exonerated in departmental proceedings and further there was no substantial material on record to show the need to continue the criminal proceedings against him.

“…the petition is thus allowed and the order of charge dated 10.03.2021, passed by learned Special Judge (PC Act) CBI, Rouse Avenue Courts, Delhi, and all subsequent proceedings emanating therefrom are hereby set aside,” the Court ordered.

Case Title: JOHNSON JACOB v. STATE

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 602

Click Here To Read Order


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Family rule, corruption, Centre’s bias to dominate Telangana polls

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Family rule, corruption to dominate T'gana polls

Family rule, alleged corruption and discrimination by the Centre are among the key issues that are likely to dominate the Assembly elections in Telangana scheduled next year.

The opposition parties may also try to rake up the issues of mounting public debt and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) failing to deliver on some of its promises.

Being in power since the formation of the state in 2014, the TRS is likely to face anti-incumbency but the party is gearing up to seek a fresh mandate based on its performance during the last eight years.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has become aggressive and is projecting itself as the only viable alternative to the TRS, is likely to step up its attacks on the family rule by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR.

Family rule and corruption are the two common key issues that both the BJP and the Congress have been raising for a long time.

Both the opposition parties have been saying that only KCR, his son K.T. Rama Rao, daughter K. Kavitha and nephew Harish Rao were running the state.

They have been targeting the TRS leader for lack of internal democracy in the ruling party and his alleged autocratic style of functioning. They ridicule KCR for not visiting the state secretariat and running the government from his farmhouse.

The BJP, which claims to be the only party free from dynasty politics, has vowed to free Telangana from family rule.

Addressing BJP leaders and workers during his day-long visit to Hyderabad on May 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted KCR. Terming dynastic politics and family-centric parties the biggest enemy of democracy and youth of the country, he had called for liberating Telangana from family rule.

The saffron party leaders have also been harping on the need for a double-engine government in Telangana. Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders repeatedly stated this during the public meetings. They said the BJP governments both at the Centre and in Telangana can fast-track the state’s development.

Both the BJP and the Congress have been targeting KCR for pushing the state into a debt trap. They say a state with a surplus budget in 2014 now has an outstanding public debt of Rs. 3.5 lakh crore.

The opposition parties have also been accusing KCR of corruption in government schemes. BJP president J. P. Nadda, union minister Amit Shah and other leaders termed the TRS government as the most corrupt government in the country. They alleged that the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project became an �ATM’ for KCR.

At a BJP public meeting in Hyderabad on July 3 which was addressed by Prime Minister Modi, both Shah and Nadda lashed out at KCR for corruption and diversion of Central funds.

The BJP president accused the chief minister of inflating the cost of the Kaleshwaram project from Rs. 32,000 crore to Rs. 1.32 lakh crore.

Going a step further, state BJP president Bandi Sanjay stated that if voted to power, the BJP will send KCR to jail.

Sanjay recently said that KCR will have to face the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sooner or later. He had said earlier that the central agencies have kept a tab on KCR’s corruption and very soon they would begin inquiries into the properties amassed by him.

Given the communally sensitive nature of politics in Hyderabad and some other urban pockets, the BJP will also be banking on polarization of votes to bolster its prospects.

Political analysts say the saffron party will make appeasement politics a key issue while targeting TRS for its friendship with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), headed by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

The BJP’s state leadership as well as the central leaders visiting the state have missed no opportunity to target the KCR-led government for pursuing what they call appeasement politics. They have been accusing KCR of handing over the car steering(election symbol of TRS) to Owaisi.

They cite the ongoing implementation of four per cent reservation for minorities in education and employment and the proposal to increase the quota to 12 per cent.

It was in 2017 that the Telangana Legislature passed a Bill to increase the quota to 12 per cent and sent the same to the Centre. However, the Centre has still not given its nod to enhance the quota for Muslims to 12 per cent and also for Scheduled Tribes from 6 per cent to 10 per cent.

Addressing a public meeting in May this year, Amit Shah promised that if voted to power in Telangana, the BJP would scrap the reservation for minorities.

Recalling that �water, funds and jobs’ were the major issues during the movement for statehood to Telangana, Shah alleged that the TRS failed to fulfil its promises and promised that if voted to power the BJP would fulfil them.

At every public meeting that Shah and other BJP leaders address in Telangana, they slam the TRS and KCR for not celebrating Telangana Liberation Day officially. They claim that during the Telangana movement the TRS chief had promised to officially celebrate the day but after coming to power he went back on the promise as he was scared of Owaisi.

The BJP has long been demanding that Telangana Liberation Day (September 17) be celebrated officially in Telangana and it points out that the day is celebrated officially in those districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka which were part of Hyderabad State.

It was on September 17, 1948 that Hyderabad State was merged with the Indian Union following Police Action or the operation by the Indian Army against the forces of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

AIMIM and other Muslim parties have been opposing any celebrations as they say Muslims were massacred during the Police Action. They also argue that there is only one Independence Day for the entire country.

“Two terms of TRS rule, welfarism, and unkept promises will be the most prominent factors in the run up to the next Assembly elections. Aspirations of youth are likely to be one big factor in Telangana, which might decide the outcome of elections,” says political analyst P. Raghavendra Reddy.

The TRS will be seeking a fresh mandate on the basis of its performance during the last eight years. The party claims that Telangana has already become a model state for the entire country both in terms of welfare and development.

The ruling party leaders are confident that KCR will create history as the first chief minister in south India to win a third consecutive term in power.

The developments of the last few months indicate that during the poll campaign TRS will be going all out to target the Centre for creating hurdles in the path of Telangana’s progress.

KCR, who has already declared his plans to play a key role in national politics, has been hitting out at the Centre for imposing restrictions on mobilization of resources by the state.

Last week, KCR boycotted the NITI Ayog meeting as a mark of protest against the Central government’s discriminatory attitude towards the states.

The lack of any assistance from the Centre for various welfare schemes and development projects in Telangana and the communally divisive agenda of the BJP are the key issues the TRS will use in countering the saffron party.




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Pune constable caught red-handed while accepting bribe of Rs 5k, arrested

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The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) caught a 48-year-old police constable red-handed in Pune on Saturday while he was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a person against whom the police had initiated preventive legal proceedings, also known as ‘chapter proceedings’, officers said.

The police identified the arrested constable as Vijay Eknath Shinde, who is posted at the office of the assistant commissioner of police (ACP) of Kothrud division under Pune city police.

A complainant had earlier approached the Pune unit of the ACB alleging that Shinde had demanded a bribe in connection with the chapter proceedings initiated against him, they said. After receiving the complaint, a trap was laid on the campus of the ACP’s office and Shinde was caught red-handed and arrested, officers said.

According to officials, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police can initiate such proceedings against certain persons if they have reasons to believe that the person is likely to get involved in illegal activities or disrupt peace in any way. Under the chapter proceedings, the police issue notices to such persons and warn them that getting involved in any such activity would lead to punitive action, including a fine or arrest. As part of the proceedings, the person is asked to be present before an officer of the ACP rank.

Inspector Pravin Nimbalkar of the ACB, who is probing the case, said constable Shinde will be produced before the court on Sunday.




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