delhi high court

Delhi High Court: A petition was filed seeking regular bail in a case under Sections 7, 7-A and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 read with Section 120-B Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Vikas Mahajan, J., refused bail to the petitioner being devoid of merits.

The petition was filed seeking default bail under Section 167(2) CrPC which was later given up and filed the present petition seeking regular bail on merits. An order was passed dated 14-06-2023, notice was issued in the present matter and the respondent was directed to file a status report. The respondent has filed a reply dated 05-09-2023, which forms part of the record.

An information was received by the respondent that the petitioner, a neurosurgeon at Safdarjung Hospital, in criminal conspiracy with the co-accused who all acted as middlemen, was indulging in corrupt and illegal activities by taking money without authority for giving medical advice and conducting surgery of the patients by-passing the laid down rules regarding treatment in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. The information further revealed that the modus operandi adopted was that the petitioner would direct the patients through the middlemen to purchase the instruments required for surgery and compelled the patients or their caretakers to pay an amount manifold higher than the actual price. Thereafter, commission was paid to the petitioner.

The Court noted that the gravamen of allegations against the petitioner are that the petitioner being the mastermind entered into a criminal conspiracy with the co-accused wherein the patients, who sought treatment from him were asked to procure medical equipments/apparatus at inflated prices from the proprietorship concern of the co-accused. The commission out of the inflated prices so paid by the patients/attendants was then kick-backed to the petitioner, thereby causing wrongful loss to the patients/attendants and wrongful gain to him. Further, the allegation against the petitioner is that he was conducting out-of-turn surgeries upon the patients who would, on his demand and directions, deposit the money with co-accused.

The Court further noted that the petitioner, being a doctor, financially exploited helpless patients for his financial gain. The patients/attendants having no bargaining power, especially during trying times, had no option but to submit to the nefarious designs of the petitioner. The petitioner by his acts would derive financial advantage at the cost of the disadvantaged and vulnerable persons of the society who would approach Safdarjung Hospital, a tertiary care facility set up by the Govt. of India in the discharge of its constitutional obligations. Often, it is the economically weaker section of society, who cannot afford the expensive treatment in private hospitals, that approach the government hospitals and the doctors working there, with an earnest hope of getting the treatment at low or no cost.

The Court concluded that the petitioner being in a fiduciary relationship with the patients/attendants was their first point of contact in the hospital. The petitioner is an influential person and at this stage there is a possibility of the petitioner influencing material public witnesses, who were his patients. The petitioner is an influential person and at this stage there is a possibility of the petitioner influencing material public witnesses, who were his patients. Thus, no ground for granting the regular bail to the petitioner was made out at this stage.

[Manish Rawat v Central Beaureu of Investigation, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 7952, decided on 14-12-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Mohit Mathur, Sr. Adv. with Mr. Naveen Kumar, Mr. Tushar Agarwal, Mr. Arun Kumar and Mr. Abhishek Mahal, Advocates for petitioner

Mr. Prasanta Varma, SPP for CBI with Mr. Deekshansh Patel, Adv. with Anil Kumar, Advocates for respondents

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