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Bye bye 'Charsho Bishi': Cheating gets a fresh number tag under new criminal laws

A case registered at the Bansdroni Police Station in Kolkata was one of the first registered for cheating after the BNS replaced the more than 160-year-old IPC on July 1, Monday.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 17:19 IST

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Kolkata: A woman walked into the Bansdroni Police Station in Kolkata early on Monday to lodge a complaint against a man who committed “Charsho Bishi (420)” with her.

The cops, however, told her that the days of treating “Charsho Bishi” as a crime were over in India. Her quest for justice however did not end. The police did register a case against the man, who defrauded her of Rs 2.40 lakh, but not under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but under Section 318 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS).

The case registered at the Bansdroni Police Station in Kolkata was one of the first registered for cheating after the BNS replaced the more than 160-year-old IPC on Monday.

The woman alleged that a man posing as the official of a nationalised bank defrauded her of Rs 2.40 lakh. He showed her fake Fixed Deposit certificates issued to her for the money she gave him to deposit in the bank – a crime, which was colloquially known for decades as “Charsho Bishi”, thanks to the IPC’s Section 420 that dealt with cheating, forgery, fraud and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.

The three-digit number denoting the IPC section over decades made its way into local parlance across the country and turned into a synonym for both the crimes it prescribed punishment for and the criminals who committed them. So much so that it even made its way to the filmy lexicon, with unforgettables like Raj Kapoor’s ‘Shree 420’ and Kamal Haasan’s ‘Chachi 420’ doing their bit to immortalise the IPC section.

 Section 420 in the IPC has now been replaced with Section 318 of BNS. The offences the section deals with remain cognisable and bailable and the maximum punishment of imprisonment for seven years also remains unchanged.

 The BNS also has Section 319 to deal with cheating by personation (by pretending to be another person). So, Kamal Haasan would have had to name his film Chachi 319 had he made it now. Raj, the protagonist conman in Shree 420, would have possibly been arrested by police under Section 318 of the BNS if he had not had a change of heart and continued to be in conflict with the law even after the abolition of the IPC.

 Meanwhile, the woman who walked into Bansdroni Police Station in Kolkata early on Monday can still hope for justice as the cops launched an investigation into her complaint and the accused, if arrested and convicted, might end up in prison for up to seven years as prescribed by the Section 318 of BNS.

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Published 01 July 2024, 17:19 IST

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