Chandigarh, June 5: A mobile phone subscriber cannot get away with an offence by simply claiming that it was being used by someone else. The onus to explain how the number was used for the commission of the offence was on the person in whose name the number was registered, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled.

“Once the phone, which has been used in the commission of the offence, is registered in the name of the petitioner and the number has been issued after the biometric verification of KYC of the petitioner, it is he who has to explain as to how the number was used for the commission of the offence,” Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi has ruled, The Tribune reported.

The ruling came on a petition filed by an accused against the state of Punjab for pre-arrest bail in a case registered in September last year for cheating and other offences under Section 420 and 34 of the IPC and Section 66 of the IT Act registered at the Punjab state cyber crime police station.

Appearing before the Bench through videoconferencing, his counsel argued that the petitioner was unnecessarily roped in the FIR and the allegations against him were totally incorrect and false.

Punjab Deputy Advocate-General Ajay Pal Singh Gill, on the other hand, placed before the Bench a status report on investigation done so far. Among other things, it was stated that the mobile from which the complainant received fake call was registered in the petitioner’s name and the number was issued after biometric verification of the subscriber. 

After hearing the arguments, Justice Sethi asserted the petitioner’s counsel had not denied during the hearing that the mobile number was being used by the petitioner. Moreover, the phone was yet to be recovered.

“It is not a case where petitioner can claim he is not related to the incident. Once the recovery of the phone is to be effected, the custodial interrogation of the petitioner is necessary to find out whether he is also involved in any other case of the similar nature,” Justice Sethi added, while dismissing the petition after asserting that no ground was made out to allow him the benefit.

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