DB refuses to quash the FIR in Misappropriation 633.14 quintals of rice

28/08/2020

Jammu, Aug 27: A Division Bench of J&K High Court Comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjay Dhar dismissed the petition challenging the quashment of FIR in misappropriation 633.14 quintals of rice.
On 8.6.2020, Police Station, Crime Branch, Kashmir, registered FIR bearing No.07/2020 for offences under Section 420, 409, 120-B IPC read with Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. As per contents of the FIR, a complaint was received by Crime Branch, Kashmir, from Directorate of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, wherein it was alleged that inputs indicating misappropriation of food grains (rice) from the granaries of Hygam and Baramulla (Centre D) have been received. Upon receipt of this complaint, a Joint Surprise Check was conducted by the sleuths of Crime Branch, Kashmir, as a consequence whereof, it was revealed that seven trucks loaded with rice were shown to have been dispatched from Private Enterprise Godown (PEG), Baramulla, under the supervision of officers/officials of Food Corporation of India through Tehsil Supply Officer (TSO), PEG, Baramulla, FCS&CA.
It was further revealed that these truck loads of rice were shown to have been received by TSO, Hygam Granary, Baramulla, by issuing separate challans in acknowledgement from various sale centres as mentioned in the FIR. It was also revealed that the receipt of the dispatched truck loads had been denied by the Sale Centres and even the relevant records of Accounts Section of Directorate of FCS & CA, Kashmir did not substantiate the receipt of these truck loads. Upon preliminary questioning of one of the truck drivers, it was revealed that these truck loads of food grains were never dispatched from PEG, Baramulla, and dispatches were shown only on papers without any physical transaction. The Joint Surprise Check also revealed that the fake challans were actually obtained by the appellant herein, who happened to be the Assistant Storekeeper, Palhallan Pattan, from one Siraj-ud-din Bhat, TSO, PEG, Baramulla. It is also alleged in the FIR that the appellant herein subsequently managed the challans in respect of trucks mentioned in the FIR from TSO, Hygam, Mohammad Hussain Bhat S/o Abdul Rahim Bhat R/o Kitchoo, Handwara.
Division Bench observed that as per the FIR, the aforesaid officers/ officials have after hatching a criminal conspiracy with each other and also with the employees of FCI, Baramulla, misappropriated 633.14 quintals of rice thereby causing pecuniary loss of Rs.9,49, 710.00/to the State exchequer. Accordingly, offences under Section 420/409/ 120-B IPC read with Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act are stated to have been disclosed against the above named persons.
DB observed that it is true that the provisions contained in Section 17 of the Act are mandatory in nature and the procedure laid down by the said provision for investigation of the offences punishable under the Act has to be strictly followed but in the instant case, though it is written in the FIR that investigation has been handed over to Inspector Mubarak Shah who is a non-designated officer yet Annexure-III to the writ petition shows that the investigation has been entrusted to Shri Imtiyaz Ahmad, Dy. SP, who is a designated officer in terms of Section 17 of the Act. As already noted, for a designated police officer, there is no requirement of previous permission from a Magistrate to undertake the investigation of offences punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act, as such; the contention of learned counsel for the appellant is without any merit. The finding of the Single Judge in this regard is well reasoned and in accordance with the law. No other ground has been urged by the counsel for the appellant during the course of arguments.
With these observations, Division Bench do not find any infirmity or illegality in the impugned judgment passed by the Single Judge. The appeal, being without any merit, is dismissed along with connected CM.

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