Trials can’t be a ritualistic formality: HC

NAGPUR: 27 years after the well-known doctor from the city was named in a police complaint, the Nagpur bench of discharged him from the crime while observing that the “trials can’t be a ritualistic formality”.

“If the material on record is not sufficient to raise even a suspicion, much less a grave suspicion, the applicant can’t be compelled to undergo a traumatic trial, the result of which is a foregone conclusion,” justice Rohit Deo said while clarifying that the observations in this order are strictly restricted to the petitioner’s role.

While allowing plea of Dr Raju Devghare, senior office-bearer of Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), the court discharged him from the Crime No 274/1991, where he was booked under Section 420, 409, 477-A and 468 read with 120-B of the IPC.

The complaint in this regard was lodged by Special Auditor — II Shrikant Supe on July 3, 1991, at tahsil police station, alleging misappropriation and financial irregularities in the Nagpur Urban Cooperative Bank, where the petitioner was director from January 5, 1989 to May 17, 1991. Investigations ensued and Devghare and 17 others were charge-sheeted and are facing trial in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here.

The orthopaedic surgeon, then moved an application under Section 239 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) seeking discharge. However, his contentions didn’t found favour, either with the magistrate or with the revisional court.

The petitioner then approached the HC through counsels Shrinivas Deshpande and Rajeev Paunipagar — contending that without concrete material, a trial would only be a ritualistic formality.

Justice Deo stated that in contradistinction with the role attributed to alternate directors, there’s no evidence to even prima facie suggest that the petitioner committed any misconduct or abetted the commission of any misconduct. “The applicant has not even attended the meetings in which suspicious transactions were discussed or were approved,” the HC said.

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