Read Order: Sukhmanpreet Singh v. State of Punjab
Chandigarh, July 21, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail in an immigration fraud case subject to the condition that the accused will deposit Rs one lakh with the complainant, which would be returned to the accused if he is acquitted upon completion of the trial.
The facts of the case are that complainant Kulwinder Kaur had given Rs six lakh to a travel agent, Harmandeep Singh alias Romi, through the present petitioner Sukhmanpreet Singh, for the purpose of sending the son of the complainant Prabhjit Singh to Canada.
However, neither Prabhit Singh was sent to Canada nor the amount was returned. On receipt of the complaint, an inquiry was conducted. Thereafter, a formal FIR was lodged against the petitioner and he was arrested.
Petitioner Sukhmanpreet Singh had approached the Court of Sessions, Amritsar seeking regular bail. His application was assigned to Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar, who on March 19, 2021 dismissed the bail application. The petitioner then approached the Higg Court seeking similar relief.
Deciding the matter, the bench of Justice HS Madaan stated, “I have heard learned counsel for the petitioner as well as learned State counsel besides going through the record. Learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that the petitioner is innocent and has not committed any offence. The only role attributed to him in the FIR, is of introducing main accused Harmandeep Singh @ Romi. The petitioner is behind bars for about 5 months. He does not have any past criminal record. Therefore, he will be granted a concession of regular bail.”
The bench further stated that though the State counsel has opposed the request but in terms of the custody certificate placed on record, the petitioner is in custody for about 4 months and 23 days. He is not shown to be involved in any other criminal case. As per the reply filed on behalf of the State, it is mentioned that the present petitioner had been given Rs.1 lakh by the main accused.
“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, particularly, keeping in view the initial stage of proceedings against the petitioner in the trial court, I find that petitioner deserves the concession of bail and is ordered to be released on bail on furnishing bail bond subject to the conditions that he shall appear in the Court on each and every date of hearing. He shall not give any threat or intimidation to the prosecution witnesses. He shall not leave India without prior permission of the Court and shall surrender his passport, if he has got one otherwise to furnish affidavit in that regard,” the Bench said.
The High Court further said, “He shall deposit Rs.1 lakh in the form of demand draft in the name of the complainant with the investigating officer who shall hand over the said demand draft to the complainant against receipt which will be made part of the investigation file.
“It is observed that if ultimately, on completion of trial, the petitioner is acquitted, then the complainant would be liable to the return the said amount to the petitioner and an undertaking in that regard be obtained from the complainant by the investigating officer, which will also be made part of the record.”
The HC said that in addition, the trial court may impose any terms and conditions found suitable to ensure that the petitioner does not abscond and interfere in the trial. “In case the petitioner violates any term and condition on which the bail has been granted to him, the order shall be liable to be withdrawn,” held the high court.