The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail to three persons who have been booked for allegedly cheating former chairman of Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana of Rs 3.58 lakh on the pretext of renewing insurance policies.
A single Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar granted bail to accused Suman Kumar, Sonu and Karan Singh, in the FIR registered against them at Sector 19 police station, upon their furnishing personal bonds for a sum of Rs 2 lakh each along with two sureties for a like sum each to the satisfaction of the Duty Magistrate concerned. The court also directed the accused to rejoin the investigation as and when called upon to do so and cooperate with the police authorities.
In January 2020, on the complaint of Chander Mohan Munjal, the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell of Chandigarh Police arrested the accused among 10 people who were allegedly running a racket of fake call centre in Ghaziabad and Uttar Pradesh area, involved in duping people on the pretext of renewing insurance policies.
The police recovered 100 SIM cards, 100 ATM cards, 25 mobile phones, and 70 cheque books from the possession of the accused.
Compromise deeds were executed by the accused and the victim in February 2020. Thereby, the amount fraudulently obtained from the victim was returned to him. On the strength of this compromise, a quash petition was filed before the High Court. On March 6, 2020 passed therein, this court directed the trial Illaqa Magistrate to record the statements of all the parties concerned and report as to whether the compromise was genuine and was without pressure and undue influence. The report is still awaited and the case is pending consideration. However, the counsel for complainant has confirmed to the court that the Rs 3.58 lakh taken from her client was duly returned.
After hearing the plea, the HC Bench stated that the accused are alleged to have run an organised large-scale criminal operation, whereby several innocent people were duped. As of date, the police authorities are yet to gather full information of the victims who might have been duped.
On the one hand, Karan Singh seeks to shift the blame onto other accused in the case, and Sonu and Suman Kumar claim to be just employees. However, recoveries were effected from all three of them and the investigation seems to have shown complicity on their part as well.
The court observed that insofar as the subject FIR is concerned, the complainant has already been appeased. In such a situation, it is for the state to decide as to how it would continue with the prosecution of this case without his active cooperation.
“That being so, this court is not inclined to accept that the compromise effected with the complainant would be reason enough to infer that the fate of this case is doomed and that the petitioners would automatically be entitled to release on bail… The compromise, in itself, may therefore not be reason enough to bring down the curtains. However, as matters stand, the investigation seems to have been completed to a great extent insofar as the present FIR is concerned and recoveries have also been effected,” the court held.
The Bench thus stated that no purpose would be served in continuing with the custodial incarceration of the petitioners. However, given their alleged complicity in these nefarious operations and the fact that the investigation is still not complete, grant of relief to them would have to be subject to conditions.
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