Read Order: Tripti Gupta v. State of Punjab

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, July 2, 2022: The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has denied the grant of anticipatory bail to a woman who, in conspiracy with her husband and others, was accused of fraudulently inducing the complainant into believing that the accused party was dealing with a Radioactive Material which was of a Brigadier and that the company (of which her husband was the Director) was authorised by institutions in India and across the world to deal in Radioactive Material, and thereby making the complainant pay a staggering amount of Rs 10 crore.

The Bench of Justice Vikas Bahl thus held,

“The reading of the entire FIR shows that there was a deep rooted conspiracy at play, and the allegations levelled against the petitioner are serious and thus, she does not deserve the concession of anticipatory bail.”

The Court was dealing with the first petition under Section 438 Cr.P.C. for the grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioner in an FIR registered against the petitioner along with others under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B IPC.

Essentially, it was alleged in the present FIR that the petitioner along with the other co-accused, duped the complainant party of an amount of Rs.10 Crores, by fraudulently inducing the complainant to believe that they were dealing in Radio Active Material and would be selling the same to the complainant. The accused persons allegedly showed paperwork to represent the financial position of the company (of which the petitioner’s husband was the director and authorised nominee) in the international market and also to show that the said company was dealing in the sale and purchase of radioactive material in the international market.

The role attributed to the petitioner and her husband was that they participated in the act of inducing the complainant party to undertake the said transactions and also in making the complainant party believe that the said company was authorised by institutions of India and the world in dealing in Radio Active Material. They allegedly informed the complainant party that they knew that the said Radio Active Material was of Brigadier Surya Partap Singh. Owing to this inducement, the complainant allegedly paid Rs.10 crores to the accused party on the pretext that it was for the purpose of inspection of the radioactive material by the persons stated to be DRDO officials.

It was the complainant’s case that the paperwork shown was forged and fabricated as the said company was not dealing in Radio Active Material, nor were the persons who came for the inspection, DRDO officials. It was argued that the custodial interrogation of the petitioner was necessary for the purpose of recovery of the original documents which were forged and also for the purpose of finding out the entire modus operandi adopted vide which the complainant was duped.

After hearing the parties, the Court observed at the very outset that the allegations in the FIR were very serious and they reflect a “deep-rooted conspiracy” hatched by the accused persons, in which the petitioner and her husband also played a very “active role” and had conspired to fraudulently induce the complainant to believe that the accused persons were dealing in Radio Active Material and would be selling the same to the complainant and in the process had even taken a sum of Rs.10 crores from the complainant partly paid at different points in time on the pretext that it was for the purpose of calling the persons, who were stated to be scientists from DRDO for inspection.

Also, while addressing the argument of the petitioner’s counsel to the effect that the petitioner was not specifically named in the FIR, the High Court, after perusing the contents of the FIR, noted that the petitioner was in fact present at several meetings held by the petitioner’s husband with the complainant. Thus, the Court held that the case of the petitioner’s counsel to the effect that only a single allegation was made against the petitioner, was misconceived and also the Court added that it could not be said that the petitioner did not gain any benefit out of the entire transaction.

In light of the above, the Court held that the entire FIR showed that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy at play, and the allegations levelled against the petitioner were serious, thus, she did not deserve the concession of anticipatory bail. Also, the Court added that the recovery of the original documents which were stated to be forged and fabricated, was to be effected by the petitioner and that the petitioner was evading the process of law as the FIR was registered on August 08, 2019, in which the petitioner was made an accused, whereas the petitioner applied for anticipatory bail before the Sessions Court only on April 16, 2022.

Keeping in view the above facts and circumstances of the case, the Court dismissed the application.

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