Accused is entitled to bail U/S 167(2) CrPC if indictment not final due to incomplete investigation U/S 173(2) CrPC: Telangana High Court
In a recent case, the Telangana High Court ruled that the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 is entitled to bail under Section 167(2) of the CrPC if the indictment is not submitted pursuant to section 173(2) of the Cr.PC without completing the investigation. Judge K. Lakshman ruled that:
“At the cost of a repetition, this Court holds that the complaint of 03.19.2022 was not a definitive complaint of which it could have been made aware. A complaint/report can only be considered a final report if the investigation is complete. In the present case, the investigation is certainly not over and the legal period of sixty days expired on 21.03.2022. Therefore, in the absence of a full investigation and in the absence of the filing of a final complaint, the petitioner is entitled to legal bond under section 167(2) PC Cr. »
Brief facts of the case
The Claimant is the Chairman and Managing Director of M/s Karvy Stock Broking Ltd. (KSBL). The defendant authority had registered the money laundering offense under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA) against KSBL. The allegations against KSBL and the claimant included the large-scale embezzlement of client funds through shell companies, resulting in huge losses for investors.
Various FIRs were registered against the Applicant and he was arrested and brought before the Metropolitan Sessions Judge cum Special Court (Designated Court) on 20.01.2022 and on the same day the Applicant was remanded in custody. The Applicant had been in prison since 20.01.2022. According to the Applicant, the offenses with which he is charged are not punishable by a sentence of at least 10 years, death, life imprisonment. Therefore, he was entitled to bail under Article 167(2) of the CrPC as the investigation was not completed within 60 days.
According to the petitioner, the 60-day period expired on 21.03.2022. Therefore, he applied for bail by default. But the said request was rejected because the complaint/indictment was filed by the defendant on 19.03.2022.
However, on 31.03.2022, another request under Article 167 was filed by the defendant for an extension of the pre-trial detention. The application has been filed for custody of the petitioner in order to complete the investigation. Said request was granted and the applicant’s police custody was extended until 13.04.2022.
Subsequently, another request was filed on 13.04.2022 by the defendant for an extension of the pre-trial detention. The pre-trial detention has been extended until 27.04.2022.
Mr. T. Niranjan Reddy, Semior’s lawyer representing Mr. Avinash Desai on behalf of the Claimant argued that a complaint in the nature of an interim report was only filed on 19.03.2022 and that no complaint/indictment was filed under section 173(2) of the CrPC as the investigation was admittedly not complete. Therefore, in the absence of completion of the investigation, the petitioner was entitled to a legal bond under Article 167(2) of the CrPC.
Mr. Anil Prasad Tiwari, Special Prosecutor of the Enforcement Branch for the Respondent, stated that a complaint/indictment was already filed on 19.03.2022. Therefore, bail under Article 167(2) of the CrPC cannot be claimed once the indictment has been filed. The remand was extended under Section 309 of the CrPC and the Respondent may seek custody of the Applicant to carry out further investigation under Section 44(2) of the PMLA.
The question was whether the petitioner is entitled to a legal bond under section 167(2) of the Cr.PC
Findings of the Court
Judge K. Lakshman relied on numerous decisions to observe that section 167(2) of the Cr.PC obliges investigative bodies to complete the investigation within a specified period of time.
In Mr Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Tax Intelligence Directorate (2021), it was clarified by the Supreme Court that a time limit to complete the investigation was incorporated to ensure that the accused does not languish in jail for the incapacity of the investigating authority. investigation to carry out the investigation.
“It is in this context that Article 167(2) was enacted within the current CrPC, providing for time limits for the provisional detention of the accused, proportionate to the gravity of the offense committed, failing which the accused acquires irrevocable power As is apparent from the recommendations of the Law Commission cited above, the intention of Parliament was to balance the need for sufficient time to complete the investigation with the need to protect the civil liberties of the accused. Article 167(2) provides a clear mandate that the investigative body must collect the required evidence within the prescribed period, failing which the accused can no longer be detained. This ensures that investigators are compelled to act quickly and efficiently without abusing the prospect of further pre-trial detention. It also ensures that the court becomes aware of the case without undue delay from the date on which the information about the offense was given, so that society as a whole does not lose confidence and develop cynicism. to the criminal justice system.”
The Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Satya Narain Musadi v. State of Bihar (1980) who discussed section 173(2) of the Cr.PC to conclude that an indictment can only be filed after the investigation has been completed.
Thus, it was clear that an indictment could only be filed after the investigation was completed. The investigation is said to be complete if sufficient material is collected by the investigating officer on the basis of which knowledge can be taken under Article 167 of the Cr.PC
In this case, if a complaint dated 19.03.2022 had been filed after the close of the investigation, the appointed court would have become aware of the violation. Not having become aware of the offense when the complaint of 19.03.2022 has already been filed indicates that the investigation is incomplete. Therefore, the complaint dated 19.03.2022 cannot be treated as a complaint/indictment under section 173(2) of the Cr.PC
Furthermore, in a decision of the Bombay High Court in Sharadchandra Vinayak Dongre v. Maharashtra state1991, it was held that a complaint/charge file filed without completing the investigation cannot be used to circumvent the right to bail under section 167(2) CC .
As already pointed out, a police report as defined in section 2(r) of the Code can only be filed “as soon as the investigation is completed”. If it is not complete; no such report can be filed. In the absence of a report as required by the Code, the Magistrate cannot take cognizance…The question which therefore naturally arises is whether the Magistrate can take cognizance of the indictment, admittedly “incomplete”, transmitted by the police. The answer must be stubbornly and certainly in the negative, because the investigation is still incomplete and the “police report” has yet to be filed. Thus, the filing of the incomplete indictment cannot circumvent the provisions of paragraph 2° of article 173 of the Code and the incomplete report or the incomplete indictment under any expression whatsoever does not satisfy not to the mandatory requirements of law.
Judge K. Lakshman reiterated that the complaint dated 03.19.2022 was not a final complaint. Therefore, the petitioner was entitled to a statutory bond under section 167(2). The petitioner cannot be dismissed under Article 309 of the CrPC as it does not come into effect until he becomes aware of the offence. Thus, the criminal petition was authorized and it was held that the petitioner was entitled to legal bail under Article 167(2) of the CrPC.
Case title: C.Parthasarthy c. Execution Director
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