The Delhi High Court on Wednesday remarked that in recent cases involving bribery charges, people have adopted “novel ways” of accepting bribes where the tainted money was either asked to be put in a place or left somewhere [Gopal Singh v. Central Bureau of Investigation].
Justice Subramonium Prasad made the observation while hearing a petition filed by a Delhi Police officer challenging an order of a Special CBI Court framing charges of bribery against him.
“Persons used take money outside. Now people have started novel ways as people started getting fearful and started saying put money in this place, that place, put it in drawer,” remarked Justice Prasad.
Appearing for the officer, Advocate Alok submitted that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had neither brought on record any hand-washes, nor was it shown that there was a demand and acceptance of the money in question.
“Money was kept in a file when I was not in my room,” he stated.
The Court, however, asked how someone had walked in and kept the money without coming to the notice of anyone at the police station, where the money was reportedly recovered. It also stated that it was commonly known that people feared going to the police station, let alone walk inside and keep the money in a police official’s file.
The counsel highlighted that in a case attracting Section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, there had to be a demand, followed by a stage where there was a verification of the demand by the investigating agency, and then a stage where it was seen that the money was accepted, followed by recovery.
“Tainted money should be recovered from accused person. Three ingredients are absolutely missing in the case,” Alok submitted.
The lawyer further informed the Bench that his client was investigating a matter after having received two cross-complaints between the complainant and another party. He submitted that the complainant and her husband had criminal antecedents.
After hearing the submissions, the Court allowed the counsel to file his written submissions and posted the hearing for September.
The Special CBI Court had on February 22, 2020, passed an order on charge observing that the facts of the case had disclosed commission of an offence under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by the accused.
The CBI had received a complaint which alleged that the police official had demanded a bribe from a woman for dropping her and her husband’s names from a complaint being investigated by him.
The Special CBI Court had held that this not a case where a “demand was not coming out prima facie” and whether the money being talked about was the money that the accused wanted from the complainant or if he was talking about the money towards settlement, was to be found out during the trial.
It had accordingly framed the bribery charge against the accused, who pleaded not guilty and claimed trial on March 7, 2020.