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Updated on: Wednesday, December 02, 2020, 12:17 AM IST

Middle man not working in public office can abet offence of corruption, says HC

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Even if an individual isn't working in the office but helps in commission of offence then such a middle man can also be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), held the Bombay High Court last week.

A bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Shrikant Kulkarni was dealing with a plea filed by a clerk of a local caste scrutiny committee, who accepted bribe for expediting the issuance of a student's caste validation certificate.

According to the prosecution case, a student had cleared her CET and had applied for admission in an engineering college at Bhusawal. However, the college clerk had asked her parents to immediately pay the course fees.

But the parents informed him that they have applied for a caste certificate and are awaiting the same. They accordingly urged the clerk to grant some time to pay the fees as per concession given to the reserved category candidates.

The clerk, as per the prosecution, said validation of the certificate would be time consuming and if they pay Rs 40,000 to him and two other clerks from the scrutiny committee, their certificates can be issued at the earliest.

Accordingly the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) was informed of the bribe demanded by the college clerk. A trap was laid down and he was arrested and later the clerks of the committee too were picked up by the agency

Justice Nalawade's bench was petitioned by one of the accused clerks from the committee. He contended that since there was no direct proof against him, he must be let off and the FIR lodged against him must be quashed.

Taking note of the material on record, the judges said that the modus operandi of any accused cannot be imagined and concluded that there was a direct link between the committee's clerks (public servant) and the college clerk, who was a private employee.

The judges further said that when a public servant demands or accepts money by misusing his position then s/he can be booked under the provisions of the PC Act and that there is no need to prove the actual acceptance in such cases.

Speaking about the college clerk, the bench said, "The provisions of the law show that a person, not working in that public office can act as a middle man and can abet the commission of an offence of corruption. Thus, looking at the material on record, there is material against the present applicant and the FIR cannot be quashed."

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Published on: Wednesday, December 02, 2020, 12:17 AM IST
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