➢ *Contempt and perjury action against A.C.P. Preeti Tipre for giving false information to High Court to harass the accused.*
➢ *Bombay High Court issued show cause notice.*
Mumbai:-Division Bench of Bombay High Court on 3rd January 2020 issued notice to Preeti Tipre, Assistant Commissioner of Police regarding false and misleading submission given to the court with ulterior purposes to harass the accused in a false and bogus case.
The background of the case is that;
The Criminal Writ Petition No. 721 of 2019 was filed by Chandralekha Arhana of Pune for quashing the F.I.R. maliciously lodged by the Cosmos Bank.
The various dispute about a loan of around ₹ 62 crores and its non-payment is being agitated however, Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Pune found that the official of Cosmos Bank are involved and I.O. made application for making Bank official as accused.
In order to divert attention from the core issue, the Bank official lodged a false and frivolous F.I.R. against the petitioner about one transaction of B.M.W. car.
Petitioner filed Writ Petition for quashing the said F.I.R. The said Criminal Writ Petition No. 721 of 2019 came for hearing on 21.02.2019 before Division Bench of Justice B. P. Dharmadhikari and Justice Revati Mohite Dere.
On that day the I.O. from Pune through APP made a false and misleading statement before the Court regarding money paid to the petitioner. Relying on that statement High Court refused to quash the proceeding. The petition of accused was dismissed.
Then petitioner filed petition for recall of the said order by producing documentary proof and pointed out the illegality and malafides of the I. O.
Division Bench in said recall Criminal Application No. 127 of 2019 directed the I. O. Smt. Preeti Tipre, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Pune to file her affidavit.
In affidavit the A. C. P. admitted the falsity of version taken note in the earlier order. But she did not close the bogus case.
Counsel for the Complainant Cosmos Bank and APP tried to convince the Court to not to recall the said order saying that, in criminal cases Court cannot recall the order due to bar under section 362 of Criminal Procedure Code.
To which advocate Nilesh Ojha, appearing for the petitioner pointed out that, when any order is passed on the basis of wrong statement or Court misled itself then such order is nullity and even Criminal Court is having inherent power to recall such order.
The prayer of petition reads as under;
(a)That this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to recall its order dated 21.02.2019 passed by this Hon’ble Court (Coram: B. P. Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite Dere JJ.) in captioned petition, being Writ Petition No. 721 of 20l9, in view of law laid down by full bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the matters of (i) M. S. Ahlawat Vs. State of Haryana & Anr. (2000 1 SCC 278, (ii) Indian Bank Vs. Satyam Fibres AIR 1996 SC 2529, (iii) Ram Chandra Singh Vs. Savitri Devi and Ors. (2003) 8 SCC 319 and so also by this Hon’ble Court in the matter of (iv) Ravindra Narayan Joglekar Vs. Encon Exports Pvt. Ltd. And Ors. 2008 ALL MR (Cri.) 2032 and may be further pleased to examine the issue raised in the petition afresh, by taking into consideration the submission made in the present application as well;”
In a recent Judgment in BMD hotels Vs. P. Murali MANU/TN/3095/2019 this issue is dealt in depth. In another case of Anil Khadkiwala Vs. State 2019 SCC OnLine SC 941 the issue was discussed by Supreme Court.
Earlier it was the stand of the Bank that the Documents produced by the petitioner are part of the investigation and unauthorisedly used by the petitioner. This contention of the Bank was countered by Mr. Ojha by relying upon Yashwant Sinha’s case (2019) 6 SCC 1 where it is ruled that improperly procured documents can also be relied by the Court.
Later in recall Mr. Ojha pointed out to the Court about the Division Bench Judgment in Kapol Co-operative Bank’s case 2005 Cr. L. J. 765, where Bombay High Court punished Senior Police Inspector of Cuffe Parade Police Station, Mumbai under Contempt of Court Act for making a false statement before High Court with ulterior motive that High Court will dismiss the Writ Petition.
This contention was noted by the High Court and observed that it to be considered by the regular Bench.
It is observed by the High Court as under;
“2. In view of this disclosure it appears that when the foundation of order dated 21/2/2019 does not stand, the writ petition therefore needs to be reheard on merits.
3. Accordingly, we recall the order dated 21/2/2019 and place the Writ Petition No. 721/2019 for admission before the appropriate Bench as per roster assigned.
5. In view of this statement made, learned counsel for the applicant requests the Court to initiate suitable contempt proceedings against the Investigating Officer of respondent No.1.
6. We keep that contention open and it can be looked into while considering Writ Petition No.721/2019 for admission.
7. Accordingly, Application No.127/2019 is allowed and disposed of.”
On 03.01.2020 the main Writ Petition came for hearing. Mr. Ojha pointed out to the court that the concerned ACP Smt. Preeti Tipre had not tendered any apology for her alleged false statement and harassment caused to the petitioner.
Mr. Ojha prayed for Suo-Moto action under Contempt of Courts Act and also under section 192, 193, 469 r/w 120 (B) etc. of India Penal Code as per provisions of section 340 of Criminal Procedure code.
After hearing the advocates for the parties Division Bench on 03/01/2020 directed to add A. C. P. Preeti Tipre as respondent and issued notice to her.
The Bench passed following order;
“1] Matter was disposed of on 21st February, 2019 and has been restored on 16th August, 2019 while passing orders in Criminal Application No.127 of 2019.
2] In view of request recorded in paragraph 5 of order dated 16th August, 2019 and as said request has been kept open, today learned counsel for the Petitioner request Court to initiate suo-motto action. According to him, though period of more than 4 months has expired, concerned Officer has not shown any remorse.
3] We direct the Petitioners to implead the concerned Officer as party respondent No.3.
4] Court may proceed either in contempt jurisdiction or under Section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code, as this Court may find fit after hearing all concerned including added respondent NO.3.
5] Issue notice to added Respondent No.3 returnable on 24th February, 2020.”