After 24 years, Court found accused Primafacie Guilty of Committing Offences of Cheating and Forgery in much publicized Excise Scam


Jammu, Oct 28: Justice though may have got delayed but finally prevailed. Today after 24 years of filing of the charge-sheet by the crime branch jammu in then popularly called Excise scam 1995-96, found the accused primafacie guilty of the commission of offences of cheating and forgery which then caused loss of around three crore to the govt. The order was announced today by Addl. Sessions Judge jammu Mr Tahir Khurshid Raina on virtual mode. However, charge will now be framed against the accused on next date, provided the physical hearing in the courts will start.
A scam in the Excise department jammu surfaced in the year 1995 -96 then popularly called Excise scam which caused around three crores loss to the government exchequer. The scam related to payment of contract bid of country liquor vends which was then alloted by the government to Messers Kuldip Singh and Co, for supply of country liquor vends to six different groups in jammu province. The contract bid amount fixed to be given by the said firm to the Excise department was 13,23,00, 000 (thirteen crore, twenty three lakh) which was to be paid by the firm in 24 fortnight instalments in a year started from first April 1995 to 31st March 1996. The bid money was to be deposited in banks and treasuries and thereafter their receipts and vouchers were to be presented before Excise office jammu to get permit of equal quantity of liquor to be purchased from ware House on still head price. And a bulk of more than 17,000 ltr liquor was alloted to the firm against the above quoted bid money.
However, at the end of financial year, the DC Excise jammu made a verification of the bid amount paid by the firm. During verification he found some receipts and vouchers doubtful. He sent them to concerned treasury and banks. And on verification it was found that there is a huge variation in the amount paid by the firm there and that of shown in those vouchers and receipts presented to Excise office with a requisition memo for grant of permit for purchasing liquor. For instance they deposited one lakh in the bank, but on the voucher got from the bank added on more zero to made it ten lakh. This illegal practice continued through out the year and this is how they caused around three crore loss to the Excise department Jammu.
On surfacing of this fraud committed by the accused firm, a complaint got filed by the then deputy commissioner Excise Jammu J.S. Modi to the crime branch Jammu. On receiving of the complaint F.I.R number 8/1996 got lodged against the firm for commission of various offences u/sec's- 409, 420, 467, 468, 471, 477-A, 120-B RPC.
Finally on the basis of investigation done by the crime branch jammu charge sheet filed against 16 accused persons for commission of said offences. The accused includes- Hansraj Mangotra rtd IAS officer, Manoj mangotra S/o Hansraj Mangotra, Amardeep Sharma S/o Manmohan Sharma, Kuldip Singh S/o Sarak Dev Singh Jamwal, Rashpal Singh S/o Gian Singh (Dead) Rameshwar Singh S/o Gian Singh, Ripu Daman Sharma S/o Manmohan Sharma, Ashok Agarwal S/o Shadi Lal (Dead), Sudershan Singh Jamwal S/o Narinder Singh, Thakur Shiv Ram S/o Rangu Ram(Dead), Moolraj S/o Amar nath (Dead), Sunil Masih Matto s/o Safiq Masih Matto, Surinder singh S/o Balwant Singh (Dead), Narinder sharma S/o Isher Dass, Sardari Lal S/o Isher days (Dead), Randhir singh s/o Gian singh.
It was established in the investigation that accused partners in connivance with eachother and some officials of Excise department has committed the crime of forgery and cheating whereby they have caused loss to the department. Even when the investigation was in progress, the accused deposited back around 90 lakh of the total loss, but that didn't condone the offence committed, rather established the culpability of the accused.
During the pendency of this charge sheet in the sessions court Jammu, Accused Kuldip singh filed bail application in the high court Jammu in the year 1996. Same was rejected. However, high court directed vigilance organisation to look into the role of complainant J S Modi who was then DC Excise Jammu, and other officials of the Excise department to ascertain whether they were part of the crime or it got committed on account of their negligence. After some time Accused Kuldeep Singh again filed bail application. HC called the report from VO. Same was filed. On the basis of said report HC directed VO to register the case and make fresh investigation. On account of this direction to VO, the HC stayed the proceedings in first chargesheet pending in the court of sessions Judge Jammu. Now second F.I.R - 34/ 1997 got registered by VO and investigation ensued afresh in the case. Finally chargeshheet was submitted in the court of special judge anticorruption jammu in 1998 against J S Modi then D C excise jammu and other officials of the Excise department jammu along with all other accused who were earlier chargesheeted by crime branch jammu for offences under prevention of corruption Act and other offences under penal code. On Filing of second chargeshheet in the Anticorruption court, the Sessions court Jammu, seized of first chargeshheet declared it nonest and sent its record to Anticorruption court for reference purposes. In the first chargeshheet there were 16 accused who were patners in the firm established by accused kuldip singh and Co, where as in second chargeshheet filed before Anticorruption court there were 24 accused which includes, in addition to accused of first chargeshheet, officials of Excise department as well with J S Modi at the top.
In the meantime JS Modi challenged second FIR and sanction of government for his prosecution in the HC. Same got decided in his favour. Second FIR and chargeshheet based on it got quashed by HC in 2005 which was later upheld by DB in 2016. In the meantime the trial in second chargeshheet in the anticorruption court jammu remained stalled. The FIR was quashed on account of pendency of first FIR. Finally on the basis of mandate of judgement of HC given in the case of J S Modi, Anticorruption court jammu discharged all the 24 accused from the charges on the issue of pendency of first chargeshheet. This order of anticorruption court didn't get challenged in the HC by VO and attained finality. However, in the same order the Anticorruption court observed that by the dismissal of second chargesheet the first chargesheet automatically revives & sent the first chargesheet back to sessions court Jammu for further proceedings. And sessions court jammu further sent it to Addl. Sessions court jammu for further proceedings in the year 2016. Its here in this court it was pending since then. So in totality this chargeshheet which is the first chargeshheet in the scam took 24 years to get opened for debate on the charge.
Court further observed that "what's unfortunate is that the stage of unveiling the crime and charging the accused has come so late that 6 out of 16 accused have died in the meantime and thus they could not got exposed to the writ of law'. But as the custodian law and justice, the court has to ensure certainty of law to pervail, even belatedly so that a message must travel across the society that law has to pervail sooner or later and no one can escape from the clutches of law for all times to come, provided he alive.
Finally court observed that of the basis of primafacie appreciation of material on record, offences of cheating and forgery are made out against ten surviving accused out of 16 and the charges will be framed against them on the next date as the physical hearing in the cases stand dispensed with in courts on account of pandemic COVID-19. The order was announced through virtual mode by the learned judge.

Share This Story

Comment On This Story


Photo Gallery

BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty