THE MANAGING DIRECTOR STATE BANK OF HYDERABAD AND ANR. V. P. KATA RAO
Respondent at all material times was an employee in the appellant Bank. He was placed under suspension on or about 13.8.1998. A departmental proceeding was initiated against him. 12 items of charges were drawn up; charge Nos. 11 and 15 whereof read as under: "Charge No. 11: He authorized cash and transfer credits to the demand loan accounts against pledge of gold ornaments of Smt. P. Lakshmi, his wife, from out of proceeds of loan amounts released to two DIR and one cash credit borrowers. Thus, he facilitated his wife to get undue pecuniary benefit by permitting unauthorized adjustments which were done with his prior knowledge. Charge No. 15: He sanctioned and released loans to his close relatives in contravention of H.O. Cir. No. ADV/98 of 1976 dated the 2nd December, 1976."
He was also proceeded against in a criminal case. He was acquitted of the criminal charges. the appellant was acquitted of the charges framed against him in the criminal proceeding under Sections 120B, 420 and 468of the Indian Penal Code. He was also acquitted of the charges for alleged commission of offences
under Section 5(1)(d) read with Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
OBSERVATIONS OF COURT
In view of the above observation made by the Apex Court and in view of peculiar facts and circumstances, in the instant case, it is unsafe to draw any adverse inference against the appellant that he committed the offence under Section 477-A I.P.C., inasmuch as the essential ingredients viz., 'wilfulness' and 'intention' to defraud could not successfully be substantiated by the prosecution against the appellant. Admittedly the case of the appellant as stated in his examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C., that it was only a mistake committed inadvertently and from the above facts and circumstances and the evidence on record, the only inference that can be drawn is that the accused, no doubt, might have made some wrong entries, but the same cannot be termed as acts of wilfulness and with fraudulent intention to falsify the accounts. Hence the appellant is entitled for an acquittal for the offence under Section 477-A I.P.C."
The judgment of conviction and sentence under Section 5(1)(d) and 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was also set aside by the High Court opining that the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubts, holding: "... In other words when the appellant was acquitted of all the charges including the charge under Section 477-A, I.P.C. by this Court, it cannot be said that he committed the offence under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act." The High Court in its judgment categorically opined that he merely had committed some inadvertent mistakes. He did not have any intention to commit any misconduct. The purported misconduct on his part was neither wilful nor there existed any fraudulent intention on his part to falsify the account. The High Court opined that the prosecution had failed to bring home the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubts for the offences punishable under the provisions under the Indian Penal Code. As the respondent has merely been found to be guilty of commission of procedural irregularity, it is not a fit case that is exercised discretionary jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, particularly in view of the fact that the respondent has now reached his age of superannuation, and the appropriate authority of the appellant would be entitled to impose any suitable penalty upon him.
The appeals are dismissed. No costs.