Pointing out that there was more than a strong suspicion disclosing the official’s involvement, Justice PN Prakash rejected the discharge plea moved by the former Tasmac employee.
As per the case, Tasmac had an outlet in the building of one Muthu (the de facto complainant) in Brammadesam village that was taken on a monthly rent of Rs 5,000. Muthu was also running a petty shop adjacent to the Tasmac shop, selling some eatables to the tipplers visiting the Tasmac shop. The rent for six months was due to Muthu, for which the official allegedly demanded Rs 50,000 as bribe.
Not willing to part with the money, Muthu lodged a complaint, based on which a trap was laid on October 21, 2017 and the petitioner fell into the snare. The official’s submitted that there were several criminal cases were pending against Muthu and hence the entire prosecution was vitiated as the de facto complaint was a person of questionable character. However, setting this aside, Justice Prakash held: “Law does not mandate that only a paragon of virtue can set the criminal law in motion. The alleged bad antecedents of the de facto complainant are not a bar for him to lodge a police complaint.”
The court also set aside the contention that when the rental arrears worked out to only Rs 30,000, the alleged demand of Rs 50,000 by the petitioner as bribe defied logic. It pointed out that a reading of the complaint showed that Mugundan demanded the bribe of Rs 50,000 not only for processing the rent papers, but on the ground that Muthu was earning a lot of money from the customers patronising the Tasmac shop.
In the light of these allegations, it would be too preposterous at this stage to hold that the demand of Rs 50,000 as bribe defied logic, the court said. The judge also refused to account for the caste factor that was raised in the case before the Human Rights Commission. “Pendency of proceedings before the Human Rights Commission can, by no stretch of imagination, be a bar for the trial of the petitioner, inasmuch as the scope of enquiry before the Human Rights Commission is totally different from that of the trial before a criminal court,” the court held.