Conviction for corruption on circumstantial evidence

Conviction under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 read as hereunder:-

(d) if he,–

(i) by corrupt or illegal means, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or

(ii) by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or

(iii) while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest; or Section 13(2) in The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (2) Any public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

For establishing the offence under the aforesaid sections, the ingredients of the public servant having abused his position and by abusing that position he has obtained for himself or any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage, has to be proved

[Source: Jagbir Singh vs Central Bureau Of Investigation decided by Delhi HC on 10 October, 2017 ]

Circumstantial evidence

On a careful consideration of the material on the record, we are of the opinion that though the prosecution has established that the appellants have committed not only codal violations but also irregularities by ignoring various circulars and departmental orders issued from time to time in the matter of allotment of work of jungle clearance on nomination basis and have committed departmental lapse yet, none of the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution are of any conclusive nature and all the circumstances put together do not lead to the irresistible conclusion that the said circumstances are compatible only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the appellants and wholly incompatible with their innocence. In Abdulla Mohammed Pagarkar v. State (UT of Goa, Daman and Diu) [Abdulla Mohammed Pagarkar v. State (UT of Goa, Daman and Diu), (1980) 3 SCC 110 : 1980 SCC (Cri) 546] , under somewhat similar circumstances this Court opined that mere disregard of relevant provisions of the Financial Code as well as ordinary norms of procedural behaviour of government officials and contractors, without conclusively establishing, beyond a reasonable doubt, the guilt of the officials and contractors concerned, may give rise to a strong suspicion but that cannot be held to establish the guilt of the accused. The established circumstances in this case also do not establish criminality of the appellants beyond the realm of suspicion and, in our opinion, the approach of the trial court and the High Court to the requirements of proof in relation to a criminal charge was not proper.

[Source: C.Chenga Reddy vs. State of A.P: (1996) 10 SCC 193 ]

 

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