Supreme Court: In a highly controversial extortion case of about Rs. 200 crores in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the 3-judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., has directed conman Sukash Chandra to reveal names of the persons involved in the alleged crime syndicate.
The petitioner, Sukash Chandra Shekhar-infamously known as Conman Sukash for extorting about Rs 200 crores while sitting in a cell of Delhi’s Tihar jail-had filed the instant petition under Article 32 of the Constitution alleging that he was subjected to threats and was a victim of extortion racket run by some of the officers of the prison where he is presently lodged. Asserting that his health and safety are in danger, he has prayed for various reliefs including his transfer from Tihar jail.
Earlier, by the order dated 17-06-2022, the Court had directed the authorities concerned to suggest the appropriate jail for transferring conman Sukash to which the respondents had suggested that Mandoli jail in Delhi, which is guarded by paramilitary forces, would be appropriate. However, the respondents had pressed that shifting of the petitioner from Tihar Jail is unwarranted. Similarly, the Enforcement Directorate had also approached the Court seeking vacation/recall of order dated 17-06-2022.
On the contrary, the Commissioner of Police, NCT of Delhi (Respondent 2) asserted that while being inside Tihar Jail, the petitioner was running a crime syndicate and was paying approximately Rs. 1.5 crores every month for getting certain facilities, including mobile phone, without any hindrance, to pass messages to the members of his syndicate. It was further alleged that some of the jail officials were on a monthly payroll of the petitioner.
Relying on the assertions made by Respondent 2, counsel for the petitioner, Senior Advocate R. Basant submitted that Respondent 2 itself had accepted that the jail officials were receiving certain money from and on behalf of the petitioner. It was further submitted that during the period between July, 2020 to August 2021, the amounts paid by the petitioner or on his behalf aggregated to about Rs. 12.5 crores, major part of which was in cash.
However, on being asked by the Court as to who were the persons who made payments on behalf the petitioner, the petitioner expressed his inability to respond to the query immediately, only to add later that the persons could be identified from the affidavit submitted in reply. The Court noted,
“If we go by the assertions made in the affidavit in response, while being in jail, the petitioner was able to garner support from outsiders who paid Rs. 12.5 crores on his behalf to the public servants or other interested persons.”
Opining that in order to come to the conclusion, whether the petitioner was subjected to extortion (as asserted in the petition) or he was running a crime syndicate and was bribing his way through (as asserted by the respondents), it would be necessary to understand the identity of the persons and the manner in which they made the payments on behalf of the petitioner, the Court directed the petitioner to submit a list of persons, giving all the details as to the payments made by any and every one of them and to whom the payments were made.
The matter is listed on 26-07-2022 for further hearing.
[Sukash Chandra Shekhar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 894, decided on 13-07-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
AOR Aftab Ali Khan, Senior Advocate R. Basant and Advocates Ashok K. Singh, Ankita Baluni, Sandeep Kumar Bhardwaj, Deepak Kumar, Akshay Sahay, Sonakshi Monga, Tanishq Mehta, Advocates, for the Petitioners;
SG Tushar Mehta, ASG S.V. Raju, ASG K.M. Nataraj, AOR Mukesh Kumar Maroria, AOR Gurmeet Singh Makker, Zoheb Hossain, Piyush Beriwal, Rajat Nair, Sairica Raju, Swati Ghildiyal, Anand Kirti, Advocates, for the Respondent(s).