STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Justice M.K Hanjura of State High Court on Tuesday set-aside the judgment of CBI court convicting 10 accused including an income tax official and acquitted accused in an appeal filed against the aforesaid judgment. Justice Hanjura after hearing Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Veenu Gupta appearing for the appeal acquitted the appellants namely Sudershan Kumar, son of Dhanpat, Lower Division Clerk in CIT Jammu, Kishore Sharma, son of Diwan Chand, R S Mehta, son of Roop Singh, Sohan Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, Rajesh Kumar Sharma, son of Sansar Chand Sharma, Tilak Raj Sharma, son of Onkar Chand Sharma, Raj Kumar Dogra, son of Sanjhi Ram Dogra, Amit Pal Singh, son of Suraj Pal Singh, Shekhar Dhar, son of M K Dhar and Tulsi Thakur, son of Shiv Lal Thakur.
According to the CBI case, on the basis of reliable information received by the CBI, a case FIR No: RC0042003/A003 was registered on June 23, 2003 against accused Sudershan Kumar, LDC, Office of Commissioner Income Tax Jammu, Jia Lal, Peon, Rajesh Kumar alias Raju Chowkidar of the Income Tax Office, Jammu, Rajinder Singh Mehta and Kishore Sharma, son of Dewan Singh and others not named for the offences punishable under Section 467, 468, 471, 409 and 419 read with Section 120 B RPC and 5(2) read with 5(1)(c) and (d) of J & K PC Act 2006. As per the aforesaid FIR the information which was received from the reliable source was to the effect that the accused Sudershan Kumar, Jia Lal and Rajesh Kumar had entered into criminal conspiracy with accused Rajinder Singh Mehta, Kishore Sharma and others at Jammu during the year 2002-03 and misappropriated the refund amount which was due to various Income Tax Assessees by opening fictitious bank accounts on the basis of forged documents and in pursuance of the aforesaid criminal conspiracy accused Sudershan, Jia Lal and Rajesh Kumar by abusing their official positions handed over undelivered income tax refund orders and cheques to accused Rajinder Singh Mehta and Kishore Kumar who got opened fictitious bank accounts in the names of Income Tax Assessees in various banks and en-cashed Rs. 1,57,988. The undelivered refund orders/cheques were collected from the receipt counter of the Income Tax department by accused Rajesh Kumar and Jia Lal and were handed over to Sudershan Kumar by Jia Lal and Rajesh Kumar. Sudershan distributed the shares received by him from Rajinder Singh Mehta and Kishore Sharma to Jia Lal and Rajesh Kumar for their service.
Rajinder Singh Mehta and his associates encashed Rs. 84,188 on the basis of bogus account. Kishore Sharma and his associates encashed Rs. 73,800. The investigation was entrusted to S.K Peshin Additional Superintendent of Police, CBI and during the course of investigation it was found that accused was working as LDC in the office of Commissioner of Income Tax in 2002 and was known to other accused who used to visit him for getting the refund of income tax return filed by him on account of excess tax deducted from him by M/s M Way Corporation. The income tax vouchers pertained to Assessees were like cheques which could be encashed after opening forged account.
As per the procedure the Income Tax refund vouchers were being sent to the assessees on the addresses mentioned in the Income tax return out of which some were returned back because of incomplete address. Out of 20 vouchers four Income Tax Refund Vouchers were received by accused Sudershan Kumar directly from the Postal Authorities and the remaining 16 were received by Rattan Chand Khajuria, Govind Ram, Girdhari Lal and others and no account was kept in respect of these vouchers received back as undelivered. Sudershan Kumar was also receiving Income Tax Vouchers from the office of Girdhari Lal.
After completion of investigation Challan was presented. Justice Hanjura observed that the process of obtaining specimen handwritings/ signatures of the accused/appellants by the investigating agency in the instant case is inappropriate and reflects adversely upon the manner in which the investigation of the case was conducted.
“Looking at the quality of the evidence led by the prosecution, it cannot be stated that the accused/appellants were responsible for opening of these accounts therefore it is clear that the prosecution has failed to prove the charges therefore the impugned judgment of the Trial Court is set-aside and the appeals are accepted. The appellants/accused are acquitted of the charges for which they were tried by the Trial Court”, the court observed.
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