‘Co-accused can be tried after tainted officials’ demise’

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

The HC ruling came on a case pertaining to bribery involving a postman.

Bombay high court

Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday held that in a case of corruption even after the death of an accused public servant the trial against co-accused private persons could go ahead under the Prevention of Corruption Act, if the trial court has already framed charges against the accused. The HC ruling came on a case pertaining to bribery involving a postman.

During the trial the accused postman died and hence the trial court had transferred the case to metropolitan magistrate court because after death of the public servant only private persons were there to face the trial. However, taking a suo motu notice of the case, the HC took it for hearing. In September 2000, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) ACB had charged Dilip Rao Saheb Kamble, a postman of Kopar Khairane post office and four others for various offences like criminal conspiracy, cheating and also under provisions of Prevention of Corru-ption Act. Howe-ver, Kamble died before charge could be framed against the accused but later the CBI court not only framed charges against rest of the accused but it also conducted trial against them.

At the fag end of the trial the defence lawyers and the public prosecutor had pointed out before the court that the prime accused, who was the public servant, was dead, and provisions of the Prevention of Corr-uption Act could not be invoked in the case.

The HC took suo motu notice and started hearing the matter. Advocate Prerak Choudhary on behalf of accused persons had argued before Justice Prakash Deu Naik that after the death of the accused public servant the provisions of the Prevention of Corru-ption Act were not applicable on the co-accused private persons.

Amicus curiae Rebecca Gonsalves opposed this plea saying the death of accused public servant would not preclude the special court from dealing with the case. According to her as per HC and Supreme Court  (SC) orders if charges have been framed then special court should deal with this matter.

After hearing arguments Justice Naik observed that as per some HC and SC judgments in cases where charges have been already framed by the special CBI court under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC against the accused the same court should conduct the trial.