The Madras High Court has declined to discharge an advocate allegedly involved in two bank fraud cases totalling Rs 330.87 lakh, holding there was material for framing charges against him. “The statement of the witnesses and a co-accused clearly shows the involvement of the petitioner advocate in the offence and hence there is material for framing charge against him,” the court said.
It stated this while dismissing two Criminal Original Petitions filed by the advocate against a common order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
The petitioner was one of the accused in two cases filed by CBI and several IPC sections were invoked against him, including criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery for purpose of cheating and abetment.
The prosecution said in one case, SBI (Rs 124 lakh) and in another of Bank of India (Rs 206.87 lakh) suffered wrongful loss, totalling Rs 330.87 lakh.
The prosecution submitted the banks were cheated in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy by the petitioner along with the other accused persons by obtaining personal loans in the names of many fictitious employees of a company.
“It is clear that if the complaint alleged against an accused is groundless, then the discharge petition can be entertained.”
Further, the court said, “If there is strong suspicion founded on the materials placed before the court with regard to the offence(s) committed by the accused, that would justify framing of charge(s) against the accused.”
Moreover, at the stage of framing of a charge, the probative value of the materials available on record by the prosecution has to be accepted as true at that stage, the court held.