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Block development officer gets bail from Madurai bench of Madras High Court

The Madras High Court’s Madurai bench has granted bail to a block development officer convicted for accepting a bribe under Section 7 under Sections 13(2) r/w 13(l)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The officer, Govindarajan, is seeking suspension of sentence and bail through the present miscellaneous petition.

A single-judge bench of Justice R. Pongiappan observed the petitioner and the second accused (Mahalingam) committed an act amounting to criminal misconduct by public servant by corrupt and illegal means and by abusing the official position of the Block Development Officer and Manager in Kadavur Panchayat Union Office and dishonestly obtained pecuniary advantages for themselves in the presence of official witness.

The court noted, “Apart from the same, the counsel appearing for the petitioner has raised substantial grounds and the same also needs detailed appraisal. More than that, the present appeal is not likely to be taken up in the near future. In such view of the matter, this Court is of the view that the petitioner/first accused is entitled to the relief of suspension of sentence and bail.”

Govindarajan was serving as a Block Development Officer (block panchayat) and the second accused Mahalingam was working as Deputy Block Development Officer (Admin-Manager) at Kadavur Panchayat Union Office at Tharagampatti, Karur District. On November 8, 2011, the petitioner and the second accused Mahalingam demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively for themselves at their office from the defacto complainant Krishnan for arranging and issuing the cheque leaf for Rs 65,500 towards the remaining amount of money payable to Krishnan for the wooden boxes supplied by him to Kadavur Panchayat Union Office for counting the ballot paper (votes) in the counting centres after the recent local poll.

C.Mayilvahana Rajendran, the counsel for the petitioner, contended that there were a lot of contradictions found in the evidence given by prosecution witnesses and thereby, it cannot be concluded that the proceedings in respect to the trap stated by prosecution witnesses are all compliance with the necessary legal provision. He further submitted that there was no demand attributed against the defacto complainant during the relevant point of time.

 “As of now, the petitioner was terminated from service and he is suffering without proper medicine in prison,” counsel for the petitioner further submits.

E. Antony Sahaya Prabahar, Additional Public Prosecutor, appearing on behalf of the respondent, submitted that the witnesses examined on the side of the prosecution has clearly proved their case, beyond reasonable doubt.

The bench noted, “It is true that the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses in respect to the demand, needs detailed appraisal. Further, it is necessary to find out that the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses in respect of the trap is sufficient to accept the case of the prosecution.”

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