Thane :  A special court here has acquitted two policemen on the charge of accepting bribe of Rs 400 from a businessman in a cheque bounce case, on the ground that the Competent Authority had not applied its mind while granting sanction to prosecute them.

Special Judge of Thane anti-corruption court, K R Warrier, quashed the sanction order given by the then Joint Commissioner of Police of Thane in according sanction to prosecute Ramchandra Kalantre, 46, a police naik, and Vasant Jadhav, 51, constable.

The duo was tried under the sections of Prevention of Corruption Act for having accepted illegal gratification of Rs 400 as part of Rs 1,000 bribe sought by them to favour one Praveen Tare, a printing press owner, in a cheque bounce case.

Tare had filed a cheque bounce case against another person and a non-bailable warrant was wrongly issued against him. The policemen had sought bribe as a reward not to proceed against Tare as the warrant was wrongly issued since he was the complainant and not an accused in the case.

The judge observed in a recent judgement that the sanction accorded on April 21, 2006, to prosecute the two policemen was without any application of mind.

Ramchandra Rathod, who was working as the Joint Commissioner of Police in Thane, said he had accorded the sanction after studying the case and applying his mind.

However, in cross-examination, he admitted that facts of the case were not recorded in the sanction order. He also admitted that the order did not mention as to which accused had demanded the bribe amount and which one had accepted it.

The order also did not mention the reason why the bribe was asked by the policemen, Rathod told the court.

Quashing the sanction, the court noted that the sanction order did not mention facts of the case, including the role played by the two policemen in accepting the bribe.

“It appears that the sanctioning authority did not apply its mind. I am of the view that the sanction is illegal and invalid,” said the judge.

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