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Prakash Kadam & etc. etc. Versus Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta & Anr.

2011 (5) TMI 1065 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1174-1178 OF 2011 - Dated:- 13-5-2011 - Katju Markandey And Misra Gyan Sudha, JJ. JUDGMENT Markandey Katju, J. A curse shall light upon the limbs of men; Domestic fury and fierce civil strife Shall cumber all the parts of Italy; Blood and destruction shall be so in use And dreadful objects so familiar That mothers shall but smile when they behold Their infants quarter d with the hands of war; All pity choked with custom of fell deeds: And Caesar s spirit, ranging for revenge, .....

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1 passed by the High Court of Judicaure at Bombay in Criminal Application Nos. 5283-5285 and 5303-5304 of 2010 by which the High Court has cancelled the bail granted to the appellants by the Sessions Court. 4. The appellants are policemen accused of a contract killing in Sessions Case No. 317/2010 which is pending before the Sessions Judge, Greater Bombay. The appellants have been charge-sheeted for offences punishable under Sections 302/34,120-B, 364/34 IPC and other minor offences. The victim .....

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Government under the Land Acquisition Act and to whom 12 percent of the land was given by the Government. This 12 percent of the land was being purchased at meager price by the deceased and accused No. 14, Janardan Bhange and was being sold on premium at later stage. During the course of that business, both of them had been exchanging the files pending with them for disposal pertaining to the said land. 6. There were some differences between the deceased Ramnarayan Gupta and accused No. 14, Jana .....

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telegrams and fax messages to different authorities complaining that the said two persons had been abducted by some persons who appeared to be policemen and were in danger of losing their lives. 7. It is alleged that at Bhandup Complex the deceased was shifted to an Innova vehicle. The deceased and witness Anil Bheda were taken to D.N. Nagar police station in two separate vehicles i.e. one Qualis and the other Innova. It is alleged that the deceased was killed and his dead body was thrown near N .....

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e police. Instead of surrendering before the police, the deceased had attempted to kill the police and in retaliation he was shot by them. 8. It is also alleged that witness Anil Bheda was initially detained at D.N. Nagar Police Station and thereafter he was taken to Kolhapur and he was further detained at Mid Town Hotel at Andheri. As such the witness Anil Bheda was in custody of the police for about one month from 11.11.2006. His wife had lodged a missing complaint at Vashi police station on t .....

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uld be eliminated in a false police encounter. On the same day it was flashed on T.V. channels that the deceased had been killed in a police encounter. The complainant, therefore, approached the High Court on 15.11.2006 by filing a writ petition (WP 2473/2006) to get directions from the High Court to the police to register a case in respect of death of his brother. 10. On the aforesaid writ petition the High Court on 13.2.2008 passed an order that the offence of murder be registered against the .....

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also stated that the death had not taken place at the spot alleged by the police, and that the deceased had not disappeared from the police custody before he was done to death, but that the deceased was abducted by the police. The report also held that a false FIR was lodged by accused No. 9 Police Inspector Pradip Suryavanshi of D.N. Nagar Police Sttion to show that Ramnarayan Gupta was killed in a police encounter at Nana-Nani Park, and this FIR was filed to cover up the murder of the deceased .....

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ay High Court dated 13.8.2009 is Annexure P-3 to this appeal. Accordingly, the statement of the complainant was recorded on 20.8.2009 which was treated as the FIR (Annexure P4 to this appeal) and investigation was carried out. The statement and supplementary statement of Anil Bheda, which corroborates the prosecution case, is Annexure P5 to this appeal. 13. During investigation, it was revealed that accused No.1 Police Inspector Pradip Sharma (who is described as an encounter specialist ), accus .....

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Suresh Shetty and accused No.7 police constable Vinayak Shinde had abducted Ramnarayan Gupta and Anil Bheda from Vashi, on 11.11.2006. Accused No.1 PI Pradip Sharma, accused No.2 Police Constable Tanaji Desai, accused No.9 P.I. Pradip Suryavanshi, accused No.15 API - Dilip Palande were the persons who actually fired and shot dead the deceased. Accused No.11 API Nitin Satape and accused no.22 PSI Arvind Sarvankar claimed to have fired during the encounter, though the bullets fired from their fire .....

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nd also later on at Hotel Mid Town from time to time. 14. On behalf of the prosecution, it is pointed out that in the FIR lodged by P.I. Pradip Suryavanshi showing the killing of Ramnarayan Gupta in an encounter at Nana-Nani Park, he had given names of police officers and police staff, who were in that team. The names of accused Nos.13,16, 17, 18 and 19 are shown in the said FIR. On that basis an entry was made in the station diary, where also the names of these persons were shown. It is also po .....

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dismissed. Everywhere they had taken the plea that Ramnarayan Gupta was shot dead in an encounter and that they were members of the Police team involved in that encounter and were also present at the time of the alleged encounter. The learned Counsel also pointed out that there is sufficient material to show that these persons were involved in the commission of the crime. 15. The Sessions Court granted bail to the appellants but that has been cancelled by the High Court by the impugned judgment. .....

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epend on the facts and circumstances of the case. In considering whether to cancel the bail the Court has also to consider the gravity and nature of the offence, prima facie case against the accused, the position and standing of the accused, etc. If there are very serious allegations against the accused his bail may be cancelled even if he has not misused the bail granted to him. Moreover, the above principle applies when the same Court which granted bail is approached for canceling the bail. It .....

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accused who are policemen are supposed to uphold the law, but the allegation against them is that they functioned as contract killers. Their version that Ramnarayan Gupta was shot in a police encounter has been found to be false during the investigation. It is true that we are not deciding the case finally as that will be done by the trial court where the case is pending, but we can certainly examine the material on record in deciding whether there is a prima facie case against the accused whic .....

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s that Police Inspector Suryavanshi, API Dilip Palande (accused No.15), PSI Arvind Sarvankar (accused No.22), PSI Patade (accused No.18) and API Sartape (accused No.11), PSI Harpude (accused No.17) and Police Constable Batch No.26645 i.e. Pandurang Kokam (accused No.19) left the Police Station to go near Nani Nani Park to verify and to arrest a hardened criminal. It appears that 3 police officers i.e. AP Sartape, PSI Harpude and Constable Pandurang Kokam were specially called from the Versova Po .....

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oes to show that accused No.17 PSI Hapude, accused No.18 PSI Patade and accused No.19 Constable Pandurang Kokam were the members of the team which killed Ramnarayan. Not only this, as per the record of D.N.Nagar Police station, on 11.11.2006, at 6 p.m. Police Inspector Suryavanshi, API Sartape and PSI Anand Patade had collected weapons and ammunition. Naturally, those weapons were collected by the said officers to go to some place for a mission. According to them, they went to at Nana Nani Park .....

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e said encounter and this is clear from their stand taken before the High Court as well as before the Supreme Court in Special Leave Petition filed by the accused Nos. 13, 16, 19 and 21. In that SLP also they had stated that accused Nos. 17 and 18 were also in the encounter team. Hence there is a prima facie case against them. 21. As far as accused Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19 are concerned, there is sufficient material to prima facie establish their role in this conspiracy and the alleged execution o .....

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ioners before the Supreme Court and had claimed that he was a member of the encounter team along with PI Suryavanshi and others, and this admission finds corroboration from the contents of the FIR registered by PI Suryavanshi himself. 22. In fact, the prosecution material collected during the investigation prima facie indicates that Ramnarayan Gupta was abducted during the day time and was taken to D.N.Nagar Police Station and from there he was taken to some unknown place where he was shot dead. .....

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apprehension in the mind of the witnesses about their own safety. If the police officers and staff could kill a person at the behest of a third person, it cannot be ruled out that they may kill the important witnesses or their relatives or give threats to them at the time of trial of the case to save themselves. This aspect has been completely ignored by the learned Sessions Judge while granting bail to the accused persons. 24. In our opinion, the High Court was perfectly justified in canceling .....

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l Nos.2047-2049 decided on 25.10.2010). 25. We are of the view that in cases where a fake encounter is proved against policemen in a trial, they must be given death sentence, treating it as the rarest of rare cases. Fake encounters are nothing but cold blooded, brutal murder by persons who are supposed to uphold the law. In our opinion if crimes are committed by ordinary people, ordinary punishment should be given, but if the offence is committed by policemen much harsher punishment should be gi .....

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se to carry out such illegal order, otherwise he will be charged for murder, and if found guilty sentenced to death. The encounter philosophy is a criminal philosophy, and all policemen must know this. Trigger happy policemen who think they can kill people in the name of encounter and get away with it should know that the gallows await them. 27. For the above reasons, these appeals are dismissed. 28. Before parting with this case, it is imperative in our opinion to mention that our ancient think .....

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into existence is provided by Mark Antony s speech in Shakespeare s Julius Caesar quoted at the beginning of this judgment. 29. This idea of matsyanyaya (the maxim of the larger fish devouring the smaller ones or the strong despoiling the weak) is frequently dwelt upon by Kautilya, the Mahabharata and other works. It can be traced back to the Shatapatha Brahmana XI 1.6.24 where it is said whenever there is drought, then the stronger seizes upon the weaker, for the waters are the law, which means .....

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