The Karnataka High Court confirmed the conviction of a Commercial Tax officer under the Prevention of Corruption Act for demanding and accepting a bribe
In the complaint, it is contended that complainant is the resident of Seetha Vihar in Chattisgad State and he is working in M/s.KMMI ISPAT Private Limited and incharge of Halavarthi, Koppal. He had purchased equipments for KMMI Ispat factory for a sum of Rs.40 lakhs and he had paid Rs.80,000/- as tax and he was transporting the said equipment from Raipura to Koppal in a lorry bearing CG-04/DA-2645.
The lorry reached Dhulkhed commercial tax check post on 7.12.2008 at about 2.00 p.m., The officers of the check post intercepted the vehicle and asked for illegal gratification which was intimated by the driver of the lorry to him. He has told the driver to settle with the officers by paying Rs.1,000/- or Rs.2,000/-. But, the driver replied that the officers are not agreeing for the small sum and they have told him to visit the check post.
Advocate Anil Kumar Navadagi, appearing for the appellant, contended that the trial judge has grossly erred in convicting the accused for the offences and sought for allowing the appeal. He further pointed out that the explanation offered by the accused that the tainted money recovered by the investigating agency was in fact paid by the complainant towards the part penalty amount of Rs.10,20,000/- which was in accordance with law and accused has been falsely implicated in the case.
Advocate Subhash Mallapur, appearing for the respondent Lokayuktha supported the impugned judgment. He further contended that the question of proof of demand in a matter of this nature would not arise as the acceptance of a huge sum of money pre-supposes the demand.
The single judge bench of Justice V. Srishananda stated that it is often said that the world is not suffering from ‘violence of many’; but is suffering from ‘silence of many’. Therefore, when a true complainant has taken recourse to the legal battle, his testimony cannot be disbelieved on flimsy reasons. The court has to take a pragmatic approach in appreciating the material evidence on record in a particular case.
The court said that the prosecution having established that the accused demanded illegal gratification in respect of release of lorry which was intercepted by Ananthanarayana and the tainted money having been recovered from the custody of the accused, colour test having stood positive coupled with the explanation offered by the accused being not capable of believing, the court is of the considered opinion, that prosecution is successful in establishing all ingredients to attract the offences.
The court held that the finding recorded by the trial judge that the accused is guilty of the offences is not suffering from legal infirmity or perversity.
Case title: Padmanabha v/s The State of Karnataka
Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.200043/2015