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Karnataka High Court relief to ADGP, 6 other former ACB officials

Justice M Nagaprasanna passed this order, allowing the petition filed by Seemanth Kumar Singh, the then ADGP, and other officials — M K Thammaiah, Prakash R, Vijaya H, Uma Prashant, all DySPs, and police inspectors Manjunath G Hugar and S R Virendra Prasad.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 23:26 IST

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Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka has set aside the order of taking cognisance against seven police officers, including the then ADGP of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), for want of sanction for prosecution. 

Justice M Nagaprasanna passed this order, allowing the petition filed by Seemanth Kumar Singh, the then ADGP, and other officials — M K Thammaiah, Prakash R, Vijaya H, Uma Prashant, all DySPs, and police inspectors Manjunath G Hugar and S R Virendra Prasad. 

On May 30, 2024, the special court for the Prevention of Corruption Act cases had taken cognisance against these officers for forgery, criminal conspiracy, extortion and house trespass under IPC sections and under Section 13 of the PC Act, alleging that they demanded money to close the case. 

The genesis of the issue started in 2021 when the ACB registered a case against Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) officials with regard to forged documents being created to defraud site purchasers. 

Officials searched certain premises and found a diary which contained Mohan Kumar’s name. They then searched Kumar’s house and office. Several documents, gold and other jewellery were seized during the search. In February 2023, the high court quashed proceedings against Kumar, who subsequently filed a private complaint against seven officers of the ACB. 

The petitioners argued that they had conducted proceedings against Kumar purely in the discharge of their official duties. They mainly contended that the special court had taken cognisance without having a sanction for prosecution under Section 19 of the PC Act and Section 197 of the CrPC. 

On the other hand, Kumar’s counsel submitted that the acts of ACB officials violated his right to life since his house was searched without rhyme or reason and when he was not even named an accused. It was further claimed that sanction would not be required, as what is alleged is forgery, criminal conspiracy, extortion and house trespass. 

After perusing the material and the apex court judgements, Justice Nagaprasanna said sanction was required both under Section 19 of the PC Act and under CrPC Section 197. The court further observed that the complainant (Mohan Kumar) was also aware of this and hence had communicated not once but twice to the competent authority, seeking sanction to prosecute these petitioners. 

“The contention of the learned senior counsel (for the petitioners) that if sanction is in place, further proceedings can go on, if there is no sanction, there can be no proceeding, merits complete acceptance. In the light of the preceding analysis, the order of taking of cognisance is rendered unsustainable and the unsustainability leads to its obliteration,” the court said. 

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Published 06 July 2024, 23:26 IST

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