Delhi High Court: In a bail application filed by the accused, Kapil Taneja, seeking bail for alleged offences under Sections 419, 420, 120-B, 34 and 389 of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) read with Sections 66-C and 66-D of the Information Technology Act, 2000, (IT Act), Amit Sharma, J., granted bail considering that the chargesheet has been filed, the possibility of tampering with the evidence, as also of influencing the witnesses cannot be presumed at this stage, owing to the fact that the evidence is already in the possession of the investigating agency.
The allegation in the chargesheet is that the applicant along with 33 other persons were found engaged in cheating citizens of the United States of America (‘USA') from a fake call center. The prosecution case, as per the said status report read “Total thirty-three male tele callers and nine female tele callers were found present who are involved in the process of cheating. All these persons were interrogated, and they were asked to produce any license for operating the call center or authorization from Microsoft / Amazon, but they were not found in possession of any such things. They initially tried to mislead but on sustained interrogation, they divulged that they have no authorization and are running this scam call center just to cheat innocent USA residents by creating fear in them of losing personal details to hackers.”
The Court noted that as per the chargesheet, the alleged victims are based in the USA and the investigation in respect of identifying the said alleged victims is underway in the USA. Further placing reliance on Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2012) 1 SCC 40, the Court further noted that the applicant has been in judicial custody since 26-09-2022, chargesheet has been filed, the possibility of tampering with the evidence, as also of influencing the witnesses cannot be presumed at this stage, because the evidence is already in possession of the investigating agency. Further, admittedly, yet-to-be-identified alleged victims are residents of the USA and therefore, cannot possibly be influenced by the present applicant.
The Court granted bail to the applicant upon his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- along with two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/Duty Magistrate, further subject to the following conditions:
i. The memo of parties shows that the applicant is residing at F-8, Vikas Puri, Delhi. In case of any change of address, the applicant is directed to inform the same to the learned Trial Court and the Investigating Officer.
ii. Applicant shall not leave India without the prior permission of the learned Trial Court.
iii. Applicant is directed to give all his mobile numbers to the Investigating Officer and always keep them operational.
iv. Applicant shall not, directly or indirectly, tamper with evidence or try to influence the witnesses in any manner.
v. Applicant shall join the investigation, as and when required by the Investigating Officer.
vi. In case it is established that the applicant tried to tamper with the evidence, the bail granted to the applicant shall stand cancelled forthwith.
[Kapil Taneja v State, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 81, decided on 11-01-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Saket Sikri, Mr. R.S. Sahni, Mr. Gautam Khazanchi, Mr. Ajay Pal Singh Kullar, Ms. Priya Singh, Mr. K.V. Sriwas Narayanan & Mr. Vinayak Chawla, Advocates for petitioner
Mr. Amit Ahlawat, APP for State alongwith Mr. Gagan Kumar, Advocate & SI Manish Kumar, NR-I/Crime Branch.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.