The Allahabad High Court has refused to quash the criminal case against Telecom Company General Manager Ram Vilas Verma and Rajendra Singh Verma, Deputy General Manager in BSNL, Bulandshahr.
A Single Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing an application under section 482 filed by Ram Vilash Verma.
The application has been filed against the orders dated 2.2.2019 and 7.2.2019 passed in Special Case under Sections 120B IPC read with Section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) and Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act, P.S CBI/ACB, District Ghaziabad.
The applicant, Ram Vilash Verma was posted on the post of General Manager, Telecom and R.S Verma, who was posted on the post of Deputy General Manager in BSNL, Bulandshahr.
In respect of Ram Vilash Verma, the applicant, this is the second round before the Court. Earlier he had approached the Court by filing Application U/s 482. The said application was rejected by the Court finding that there was enough material against the applicant for having a prima-facie case against him.
As per the prosecution story, a complaint was made on 13.12.2016 by one Pawan Kumar, proprietor of M/s Eagle Construction Company regarding demand of illegal gratification by R.S Verma (DGM) and Ram Vilas Verma, General Manager of BSNL, Telecom, Bulandshahr @ 5% and 3% of the tender amount of Rs 2,35,13,214/- awarded to the said complainant for seven blocks falling under the jurisdiction of GMTD, Bulandshahr.
In the complaint, tenders were invited for laying optical fibre cable under National Optical Fibre Scheme in the seven blocks. The complainant had submitted bids for different blocks mentioned in the first information report and qualified for technical bids and in financial bid he qualified as L-2 M/s Chaudhary Construction Company through proprietor Ashok Chaudhary as L-1 and as per terms and clause, L-1 was to execute 60% of the work and the remaining 40% work was to be awarded to L-2 for execution at the rate of L-1 bidder.
The complainant was offered the contract for different blocks for different amounts as detailed in the FIR which were received by him through e-mail on 1.9.2016 and he submitted his willingness through e-mail on 3.9.2016 in the office of GMTD, Bulandshahr for execution of five works out of six works. When the complainant visited the BSNL office on 8.9.2016 and met the applicant, Ram Vilas Verma, General Manager and R.S Verma, DGM, the DGM demanded illegal gratification @ 10% of offered tender cost which included the share of General Manager also. The complainant did not agree to pay illegal gratification as demanded.
On 15.9.2016, he received six letters through e-mails cancelling the tenders, thereafter he met the DGM to enquire about the said cancellation who stated that the reason of cancellation was that he did not agree to pay 10% of the offered tender value by 14.9.2016, and therefore, the work allotted to him got cancelled.
The Court noted that,
It is alleged that the complainant expressed his inability to pay, he was suggested to pay @ 5% of the offered tender value to General Manager and 3% of the offered tender value to DGM. In the presence of the complainant, R.S Verma, DGM persuaded the General Manager that the applicant would be payable @ 5% of offered tender value and pursuant to that General Manager agreed that fresh letters would be issued to him. However the complainant was not willing to pay the illegal gratification amount.
On 25.10.2016 again an offer was made to him for the said contract and various letters were issued to him and in response to those letters he had given his acceptance on 27.10.2016. The applicant persisted with their demand of illegal gratification and even refused to take bank guarantees for the work which was allotted to the complainant. It was communicated to him that if he did not pay the demanded amount, his remaining tenders would also be cancelled. He received an email regarding cancellation of work on 28.11.2016 from the office of GMTD, verbal direction of General Manager and DGM, had executed approximately work of Rs 60 lakhs in four blocks till then.
Ultimately, the complainant brought to the notice of the higher authority regarding illegal demands and gratification to the applicant and the CBI thereafter laid a track team which recovered Rs 10,000/- bribe from the pocket of R.S Verma (DGM). On 19.12.2016, CBI laid a trap against the applicant in which it failed to trap the applicant since he did not accept any illegal gratification offered by the complainant. However, from the possession of the co-accused, he was caught red handed accepting Rs 10,000/-.
Now, these petitions have filed against the impugned order, whereby the applications for discharge have been rejected. It is settled legal position that at the time of consideration of discharge application / framing of the charge, the only thing which is to be considered by the trial court is to peruse evidence and material and find out whether material and evidence available on record would point out strong motive against the accused for commission of the offence.
Manish Tiwari, Senior Advocate assisted by Namit Srivastava and Anoop Trivedi, Senior Counsel assisted by Abhina Gaur, counsels for the applicant have submitted that demand is not proved against the accused and it is settled law for constituting offence under Section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) demand, acceptance and recovery are to be proved. It is further submitted that charges have been framed.
On the other hand, Gyan Prakash Srivastava, Deputy Solicitor General assisted by Sanjay Yadav, counsel appearing for the CBI has submitted that the voice sample of the two applicants were sent for forensic examination and after examination, their voice has matched with the recorded voice which is part of the case diary.
“Question whether there was demand bribe or not is a question of fact which can be decided in trial but when the one of the accused has been apprehended with the demanded money, allegedly the Court cannot quash the proceeding on the ground that there is no evidence regarding demand of bribe”, the Court said while dismissing the application.