Uttaranchal High Court: Alok Kumar Verma, J. rejected three bail applications of the applicants who were in custody for the offence under Sections 188, 269, 270, 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B of IPC, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Section 53 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Informant, Chief Medical Officer, Haridwar lodged an FIR on 17-06-2021 with the allegations that a complaint was made by a person to the Indian Council of Medical Research (in short, “I.C.M.R.”) that his Aadhar Card Number and Mobile Number were used for conducting Rapid Antigen Test, but, no sample was given by him. The said complaint was sent back by the I.C.M.R. to the Health Department of Uttarakhand on 14-05-2021. Evidence were found to the effect that the name of the sample collection centre for Rapid Antigen Test was shown as “M/s. Max Corporate Service Kumbh Mela” and sample was tested by “Nalwa Laboratories Pvt. Ltd.”, Hisar. The accused persons were partners of “M/s. Max Corporate Services” who had executed an MoU with “Nalwa Lab”, Hisar and “Dr. Lalchandani Lab”, Delhi stating that their company is registered under the Companies Act, 1956.

Applicant-accused had submitted an affidavit stating therein that “Dr. Lalchandani Labs”, and “Nalwa Laboratories Pvt. Ltd.” belonged to him and by misleading the Kumbh Mela Officer, got the contract for testing of Covid-19 from the Government, whereas, their firm was not authorized to conduct test for Covid-19 as per the guidelines of ICMR due to lack of testing lab with their firm. The applicants had prepared forged testing report, uploaded on Web-portal of I.C.M.R. and submitted bills of about Rs.4 Crore, out of which, they had withdrawn Rs.15,41,670/-.

The Court stated that the Society has a vital interest in grant or refusal of bail because, criminal offence is the offence against the society. The Court relied on the Supreme court cases of Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan, (2004) 7 SCC 528, State of U.P. v. Amarmani Tripathi, (2005) 8 SCC 21 where it was held that law in regard to grant or refusal of bail is very well settled. The court granting bail should exercise its discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course.

The Court also mentioned the case of Ram Govind Upadhyay v. Sudarshan Singh, (2002) 3 SCC 598 stating that dealing with an application for bail, there is a need to indicate in the order, reasons for prima facie considering why bail is being granted.

The Court further was of the opinion that it would be inappropriate to discuss the evidence in depth at this stage. At this stage, detailed appreciation of evidence shall affect the trial. But, from the perusal of the evidence, collected during the investigation by the Investigating Officer, it prima facie appears that the applicants-accused persons were involved in this crime.

The bail applications were rejected finding no good grounds for enlarging the applicants on bail.[Ashish Vashisth v. State of Uttarakhand, 2022 SCC OnLine Utt 219, decided on 25-03-2022]

Counsel for the Applicant: Mr Arvind Vashisth, assisted by Mr Hemant Singh Mehra, counsel holding brief of Mr Shubhr Rastogi

Counsel for the State: Mr T.C. Agarwal assisted by Mr Rohit Dhyani

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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