In a blow for three policemen whose names figure in the fake stamp paper scam involving Abdul Karim Telgi,the Bombay High Court last week dismissed their pleas against invocation of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).
The appellants are Dattatray Ghule,Anil Deshmukh and Ramesh Pawar. While the first two were police inspectors when the case was registered,Pawar was a police sub-inspector.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),which is investigating the case,claims that these officers facilitated the sale of the fake stamps in Thane and Nashik.
According to the public prosecutor in the case,Pradeep Gharat,the officers might have received bribes to the tune of Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh each for turning a blind eye to the case.
Pawar is also accused of preparing a false panchnama after a set of such stamps were seized by the police in Nashik. In the seizure,the police are said to have found fake insurance stamps of the denomination of Rs 18 lakh in a car.
While Ghule had filed an application for discharge from the chargesheet in the case,the other two had challenged the framing of charges against them under the MCOCA.
Arguing for Ghule,his lawyer S V Kotwal contended that no sanction was obtained by the CBI before initiating prosecution against him.
He also claimed that there was no material before the court to show that there was more than one chargesheet against him,which is necessary for the application of MCOCA.
Also,for the other two policemen,sanction had not been obtained for all the cases against them,Kotwal claimed.
However,rejecting these arguments,a Division Bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S P Davare said,By no stretch of imagination can it be said the alleged acts were done under the colour of duty. It is also not possible to say that the alleged acts were committed by the appellants while acting or while purporting to act in the discharge of official duty. Hence,there is no merit in the contention about absence of sanction.
The court also ruled that once a sanction order is obtained,the court does not need to restrict itself to taking cognizance of only the offences,which are referred to in the sanction order.