gujarat high court

Gujarat High Court: In a bail application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’), whereby the accused was seeking regular bail for offences under Section 12 of the Passport Act, 1967 along with Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120(b) of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’), Nirzar S. Desai, J. dismissed the application after considering the nature of allegations levelled against the accused of sending people illegally to foreign countries and successfully allowing them to cross the border.

In the matter at hand, the accused was alleged of being involved in a criminal conspiracy of sending people illegally to the United States of America (‘USA’) by way of making fake passport and by creating fraudulent documents and using the same as genuine documents with the help of other co-accused persons. The accused was alleged of cheating the Government of India as well as other countries. The First Information Report disclosed that about 79 fake Indian passports were discovered at the instance of the accused.

The Court noted that voluminous incriminating material was available against the accused in form of statements of various victims and witnesses which indicated that the accused was involved in large scale activity of sending people to foreign countries by creating fake passport and visa stickers and other documents as well as by creating false travel histories. The Court also noted that the accused has contacts all over the world and by using different routes, he sends people to foreign countries illegally.

Further, the Court noted that the accused was convicted for around seven offences in the USA, hence, he was deported in 2002. The Court said that even after he was deported and sent back to India, the accused seemed to have been indulged in consistent and constant criminal activities. On perusal of the affidavit submitted by the Investigating Officer, the Court noted that as many as Rs.1.5 crores were transferred at various point of time by way of 75 different transactions which showed that magnitude of scale of the accused of sending people to foreign countries. The Court also noted that the accused was directly dealing with the victims/ persons desirous to go to foreign countries illegally. The Court also noted that various FIRs have been registered against the accused person for similar offences in various cities.

Therefore, the Court said that considering the nature of the allegations leveled against the accused person of sending people illegally to foreign countries and successfully allowing them to cross the border, there are chances that if the accused is enlarged on bail, he may utilize his international contacts all over the world for himself and may fly away. Hence, the Court denied to exercise the powers under Section 439 of CrPC in favour of the present accused. Thus, the Court dismissed the present application.

[Bharatkumar Ramabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, R/Criminal Miscellaneous Application (For Successive Regular Bail – After Chargesheet) No. 9824 Of 2023, order dated: 20-11-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the accused: Senior Advocate N.D. Nanavaty, Advocate Mukesh Kumar Sudarshan, Advocate Hetu M Sudarshan

For the respondent: Advocate Manan Mehta

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