Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of an ex-Branch Manager of Bombay Mercantile Cooperative Bank, charged with corruption offences, seeking quashing of the FIR and proceedings before the trial court against him.
The petitioner, Khazir Mohammad Tunda, through senior advocate Mian Qayoom had questioned the FIR as well as proceedings including the order for framing of charges by the trial court, on the grounds that he being an employee of Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank Limited was not a public servant as such and could not have been prosecuted for the commission of offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.
Also, the petitioner through his counsel stated that transactions in the final report only give rise to civil liability and further, the CBI had conducted an inquiry without any authority and the subsequent proceedings by the court were without jurisdiction.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal while hearing the parties said that the first contention of the petitioner is that he is not a public servant. For this contention, the court took note of explanation No. 14 appended to section 21 RPC that defines a public servant as every officer or servant employed by a cooperative bank whether for the whole or part time as ‘a public servant.”
The court also rejected the second contention of the petitioner that allegations levelled against him do not make out any case for prosecuting him under penal laws.
For the third contention of the petitioner that the CBI had no authority to conduct the inquiry, the court recorded that in the instant case, the investigation stands concluded and the challan stands filed.
“The trial court has taken cognisance of the offences mentioned in the challan and has even framed the charges against the petitioner and the other accused. Now at this stage, the accused-petitioner cannot raise a plea that the CBI had investigated the matter without any authorisation and also there is no whisper that any miscarriage of justice has been occasioned to the petitioner due to such investigation by CBI,” the court recorded.
“In view of all what has been said and discussed, this petition has no merit and is, hereby, dismissed. The trial court is directed to conclude the trial expeditiously and no unnecessary adjournments shall be granted to either of the parties,” Justice Oswal directed.
Earlier, a written report was lodged by Ashraf Ali Abbas, the then Branch Manager of Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank Limited, M. A. Road, Srinagar, on 13 January 2004 alleging that the petitioner during his posting as Branch Manager of the Bank from June 1990 to 25th July 2001 had fraudulently opened bank accounts in the names of fictitious persons and allowed unauthorised excessive withdrawals causing enormous loss to the bank, to the extent of more than one crore rupees.