Lawyers are known to find a way out of certain problems by manipulating certain laws for the sake of their clients. But the Madras High Court was witness to a lawyer creating a non-existent person to get away from the criminal prosecution initiated against him for extortion.
Justice PN Prakash on observing that this is a textbook case to demonstrate as to how a member of the legal profession can exploit the flaws in the system to thwart criminal prosecution against him said, “In the ultimate analysis, the conduct of the petitioner, an advocate by profession, is undoubtedly unbecoming, requiring a Bar Council enquiry against him.”
As per the case, a gang led by Varadarajan had caused extensive damages to a row of shops at Vadalur near Cuddalore on November 11, 2016 as the owners had refused to part with rowdy mamool (protection money). Based on a complaint, Vadalur police registered a case against 19 persons from RC Colony at Vadalur, with the name of the 16th accused figuring as Sivaguru s/o Mahalingam.
Taking advantage of this, the said advocate N Sivagurunathan hiding the fact that the Sivaguru figuring in the FIR is him, moved anticipatory bail for all the accused and obtained it on the second attempt on November 27, 2015. Thereafter, the police filed a charge sheet before the Judicial Magistrate, Cuddalore against 18 accused, wherein the third accused has been shown as Vakil Sivaguru, s/o Nagappan, of RC Colony, Vadalur.
On receiving the summons, advocate Sivagurunathan moved the High Court seeking to quash the prosecution against him. He contended that he is not Sivaguru as mentioned in the FIR and during arguments in both the anticipatory bail applications, neither the police nor the public prosecutor represented to the sessions court that Sivaguru s/o Mahalingam is not the actual accused. Therefore, the charge sheet in which the third accused has been shown as Vakil Sivaguru is liable to be quashed.
To buttress his claim, the advocate also filed a civil suit and a private complaint against the investigating officer before the Special court for SC/ST Act cases contending that he has been falsely implicated in the case and sought for a compensation of Rs 3.75 lakh.
Interestingly, during the hearing Justice Prakash directed the petitioner to produce Sivaguru s/o Mahalingam on whose behalf he had filed two anticipatory bail applications, to enable the court to decide the issue.
While he filed an affidavit on August 31, 2018, stating he is unable to produce him since he was unaware of the said Sivaguru’s daily movements, the investigation officer, submitted a VAO certificate dated September 01, 2018 that there is no person by name Sivaguru in R C Colony, Vadalur.
Also, Justice Prakash on ascertaining from Judicial Magistrate that Sivaguru has not surrendered till date, said, “The failure of the district public prosecutor to inform the sessions court that the actual accused in this case is Sivagurunathan, who is the counsel on record for the petitioners and not Sivaguru, the petitioner in the anticipatory bail application, cannot be a ground to hold that a false case has been foisted against the petitioner, especially in the teeth of overwhelming materials that have been collected by the investigation officer to the effect that Advocate Sivagurunathan was involved in the attack.”