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HomekarnatakaKarnataka HC quashes graft case against Madal Virupakshappa

Karnataka HC quashes graft case against Madal Virupakshappa

In a big relief for former BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa, the Karnataka high court on Wednesday quashed the proceedings against him in a bribery case.

Justice M Nagaprasanna said that there was no offence for demand or acceptance of illegal gratification against Virupakshappa, who was MLA from Channagiri constituency at the time of registration of case.

“It is made clear that the observations made in the case at hand are only concerning accused No 1 (Madal Virupakshappa) and the same shall not bind or influence the investigation or any pending proceedings before any Court of law against other accused,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.

The Lokayukta police had registered the FIR on March 2, 2023, on allegations of demand of bribe by accused number 2 Prashanth Madal, son of Madal Virupakshappa, who was chairman of Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited (KSDL).

The complaint was that Prashanth, who works as a Financial Adviser and Chief Accounts Officer at BWSSB, had demanded and accepted bribe for clearing bills or directing the tender to be in a particular manner in the KSDL. The Lokayukta police had arrested Prashanth red-handed while accepting the bribe money of Rs 40 lakh on March 2, 2023. The police had named Madal Virupakshappa as accused number 1 and contended that the son had flexed his power to demand and accept money on behalf of his father.

Challenging the proceedings, Virupakshappa had argued that he had been dragged into the web of crime only for the reason that he is the Chairman of KSDL and submitted that his son may have taken money. On the other hand, the Lokayukta police had argued that though he may not even be in the picture, the fact is that Virupakshappa was the chairman of KSDL.

The court pointed out that the soul that runs through section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act, alleged against Virupakshappa, is demand of illegal gratification by a public servant and acceptance for performance or forbearance from performance of a duty.

“To put it straight demand and acceptance is sine qua non to prove Section 7,” the court said, further observing that ambiguity or vagueness in the complaint against any accused would necessarily result in obliteration of crime and the complaint in the case at hand suffers from the same in respect to the petitioner.

The court also noted that though a huge stack of Rs 6.1 crore cash was found during the search at the house of Prashanth, nowhere any incriminating material is found against the petitioner.

“The document of tender that has become the subject matter of complaint is also placed before the Court. Nowhere the petitioner even participated in the proceedings. Therefore, on all these counts, permitting further proceedings against the petitioner would become an abuse of the process of law and result in miscarriage of justice.”

(Published 20 December 2023, 20:20 IST)

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