Allahabad High Court grants conditional bail to Punjab National Bank manager

The Allahabad High Court has granted the conditional bail to Punjab National Bank, Ikauna branch District-Shrawasti manager Rajneesh Kumar.

A Single Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Rajneesh Kumar.

By means of the application, the applicant who is involved in case under Section 419, 420, 409, 467, 468, 471 IPC and Section 7/13(C) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, Police Station-Ikauna, District-Shrawasti is seeking enlargement on bail during the trial.

Submission made by the counsel for the applicant is that the applicant was the branch manager of P.N.B Ekauna Branch, Shravasti during 20.06.2017 to 05.05.2018. The FIR came into existence on 04.04.2020 when one Bheem Kumar was Branch Manager. The FIR was registered by one Rohit Singh against Santosh Kumar.

It is contended by the counsel for the applicant that the applicant is not even named in the FIR. The entire tirade of allegation is upon Santosh Kumar, Cashier whose bail application is pending. In addition to this, it is contended that no sanction has been accorded to prosecute the applicant in the case by the Department.

Moreover, the departmental inquiry was conducted against the applicant and he was charged that he had failed to provide affected supervision in the state of affairs of the branch in question. Thus, he was awarded a minor punishment of reduction of one lower stage in time-scale of pay for a period of two years.

It is further contended that the present incumbent Bheem Kumar, Manager has already been granted bail in the case. The case of the applicant too is also on the identical footing.

Counsel for the applicant next submitted that during his tenure, syphoning of the funds from the various accounts took place but the author of those syphoning of the funds and misfeasance were made by Santosh Kumar, Cashier who is the main accused of the offence.

The Court noted that,

No doubt that the applicant has a lack in his supervisory capacity as branch manager but there is nothing on record to establish that he was anywhere beneficiary of these syphoning. This misfeasance and bungling is said to have taken place in different accounts of various customers. The bail of the prime accused Santosh Kumar is still pending. Keeping in view that co-accused Bheem Kumar and Santosh Kumar Mishra have already been enlarged on bail, the applicant is also entitled for bail. The applicant has been languishing in jail since 30.09.2021.

A.G.A opposed the prayer for bail but could not dispute the aforesaid facts and the legal submissions as argued by the counsel for the applicant.

"Keeping in view the nature of the offence, evidence, complicity of the accused and submissions of the counsel for the parties, I am of the view that the applicant has made out a case for bail", the Court observed.

The Court ordered that,

Let the applicant, Rajneesh Kumar, who is involved in the aforesaid case be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned subject to following conditions. Further, before issuing the release order, the sureties are verified.

(i) The applicant shall file an undertaking to the effect that he shall not seek any adjournment on the date fixed for evidence when the witnesses are present in Court. In case of default of this condition, it shall be open for the Trial Court to treat it as abuse of liberty of bail and pass orders in accordance with law.

(ii) The applicant shall remain present before the Trial Court on each date fixed, either personally or through his counsel. In case of his absence, without sufficient cause, the Trial Court may proceed against him under Section 229-A IPC.

(iii) In case, the applicant misuses the liberty of bail during trial and in order to secure his presence proclamation under Section 82 Cr.P.C, may be issued and if applicant fails to appear before the Court on the date fixed in such proclamation, then, the Trial Court shall initiate proceedings against him, in accordance with law, under Section 174-A IPC.

(iv) The applicant shall remain present, in person, before the Trial Court on dates fixed for (1) opening of the case, (2) framing of charge and (3) recording of statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. If in the opinion of the Trial Court absence of the applicant is deliberate or without sufficient cause, then it shall be open for the Trial Court to treat such default as abuse of liberty of bail and proceed against him in accordance with law.

(v) The Trial Court may make all possible efforts/endeavours and try to conclude the trial within a period of one year after the release of the applicant.

In case of breach of any of the above conditions, it shall be a ground for cancellation of bail.