Patna High Court: Expressing that the entire community is aggrieved if the economic offenders, who ruin the economy of the State are not brought to book, Anjani Kumar Sharan, J., held that economic offence is committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of the consequence to the community.

What is the Prosecution case?

Shashi Kumar and Rajesh Kumar had lodged a case under Sections 419, 420 467, 468, 469, 471 and 120B of the Penal Code, 1860 against the Chief Manager and other officials of Bank of India. Further, it was revealed that the bank account in their names and in the firm’s name and their family members held with the Bank of India were misutilized in connivance with the bank officials and huge amount of cash was deposited and transferred to other bank accounts without their knowledge and consent.

Petitioner during the investigation had revealed that a cash of Rs 50 lakhs was deposited in the account of the firm which was transferred on the same day to bank account of Radha Trading Company and out of the said amount, Rs 10 lakhs was transferred to the account of Sanjog Steels (P) Ltd.

Similarly, cash of Rs 25 lakhs was deposited in the account in the name of M.T.I. Cotton Mills Pvt. Ltd. and on the same day it was transferred to the account of Radha Trading Company, Delhi and out of this an amount of Rs 10 lakhs was transferred in the account of Sanjog Steels Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur.

Thus, proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 25 lakhs originated from a bank account held with Bank of India, G.B. Road Branch, Gaya have merged in the bank account of Sanjog Steels Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur after being layered through the bank account of fake and non-existent firms.

Further, it was alleged that the petitioner who claimed to have received sale proceeds of sale of the product of his factory but either the petitioner or his representative failed to produce documents justifying the transactions of sale and purchase documents justifying the transactions of sale and purchase between the petitioner and Radha Trading Company. He also could not produce any documents in support of the claim that he received Rs 20 lakhs against the supply of the goods.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Whether the applicant would qualify to get bail?

There was no doubt about the complicity of the applicant and there are no reasonable grounds to believe that he is not guilty.

Though the Bench added that it should be considered whether there was a likelihood of the applicant committing any offence while on bail?

High Court noted that during investigation it was found that the firms namely, M/s Radha Trading Company, Delhi, M/s Shree Ram Overseas, M/s Shree Ganesh Overseas, M/s Sandeep Traders, M/s Rajesh Trading Company, M/s Sunil Trading Company and M/s Azad Singh and Manoj Kumar were fake and fictitious firms and had not been operating from the addresses as mentioned in their bank accounts or the sales invoices.

In the above manner, Rs 20 lakhs cash after deposit in the accounts was transferred to the bank accounts of M/s Sanjog Steel (P) Ltd. after being layered through the bank accounts of fake and non-existent firms. Hence, the transactions, through the said firms were involved in money laundering in terms of Section 23 of the PMLA.

High Court expressed that,

A disregard for the interest of the community can be manifested only at the cost of forfeiting the trust and faith of the community in the system to administer justice in an even handed manner without fear of criticism from the quarters which view white collar crimes with a permissive eye unmindful of the damage done to the National Economy and National Interest.

In view of the above discussion, the anticipatory bail was rejected.[Pankaj Goel v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Pat 643, decided on 11-3-2022]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner/s : Mr. S.D. Sanjay, Senior Advocate Mr. Mohit Agarwal, Advocate

For the Opposite Party/s : Mr. K.N.Singh, A.D.S.G. Mr. Tuhin Shankar, Advocate

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