08 December 2004
Supreme Court


Case number: Crl.A. No.-000727-000727 / 1997
Diary number: 19228 / 1996
Advocates: P. PARMESWARAN Vs



CASE NO.: Appeal (crl.)  727 of 1997

PETITIONER: Central Bureau of Investigation

RESPONDENT: Akhilesh Singh

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/12/2004

BENCH: K.G. Balakrishnan & Dr. AR. Lakshmanan



       This is an appeal preferred by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the order   passed by the High Court of Allahabad at Lucknow.   By the impugned order passed by the  High Court, the respondent was  discharged from the criminal case filed against him.

       The facts in short are as follows.    Respondent Akhilesh Singh was one of the  accused in a criminal case registered under Section 120-B read with Section 302 and  Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code.   Charges were framed against him and he filed a  petition under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code before the High Court.   The  learned Single Judge quashed the charges framed against the respondent.  The allegation  against the respondent was that he entered into a conspiracy with another accused Dr.  Sanjay Singh and in furtherance of the common object of the conspiracy joined hands with  other accused to cause the murder of one Syed Modi on 28th July, 1988.

       Deceased Syed Modi was a badminton player of international fame.   He was a  national champion of badminton for eight years and during the relevant time he was  working as a Welfare Superintendent of North Eastern Railways at Lucknow.   Amita  Kulkarni was the wife of the deceased Syed Modi.  She was also a badminton player and  both of them represented India in the international meet held at Beijing in 1978.  During th at  time, there arose intimacy between the two players and later they decided to marry.  But  this was not liked by the parents of Syed Modi.   Amita Kulkarni was a native of Bombay  and her father was a senior business executive in a textile mill and her mother was a  teacher by profession.   Amita Kulkarni joined service as a clerk in Indian Railways, but sh e  later came to Lucknow to take up assignment as an officer in the managerial cadre in the  Marketing Division of the Cooperative Dairy Federation.   The original accused, Dr. Sanjay  Singh was at the helm of affairs of this Cooperative Dairy Federation.   Dr. Sanjay Singh  was active in politics and it is alleged that he enjoyed great political and social influenc e as  he was a lineal descendent of the princely family of Amethi.  He also held the post of a  Cabinet Minister in the State of Uttar Pradesh for some period.   It was further alleged by  the prosecution that Amita Kulkarni came in close contact with Dr. Sanjay Singh and this  was not liked by deceased Syed Modi.   However, the differences are stated to have been  sorted out and it is alleged that the marriage between Syed Modi and Amita Kulkarni was  solemnized in 1988 at the residence of Dr. Sanjay Singh.   It is alleged that even after the   marriage, Amita Kulkarni continued to have her meetings with Dr. Sanjay Singh and  deceased Syed Modi used to raise objections and there were frequent quarrels between  Syed Modi and his wife.   It is alleged that Dr. Sanjay Singh was informed of these  developments and he wanted to do away with Syed Modi.  He took the assistance of the  respondent, Akhilesh Singh, who had criminal antecedents and was involved in several  criminal cases, including murder.   The respondent was alleged to have association with  other accused, namely, Amar Bahadur Singh, Balai Singh, Jitendra Singh @ Tinku.  After



this incident, Amar Bahadur Singh and Balai Singh died and their names were removed  from the array of parties.   The above three accused were said to be the constant  companion of the respondent Akhilesh Singh and they acted as his body guards.    On  20.7.1988, the respondent introduced one Bhagwati Singh @ Pappu to Dr. Sanjay Singh  and the respondent obtained a Maruti van bearing registration number HYG 1959 from one  Abdul Khaliq in  exchange of his own Gypsy jeep.   The prosecution case is that the  respondent handed over this van to the other accused and they conspired to kill Syed Modi  on 24.7.1988.   The respondent along with the co-accused stayed at room no. 13 of Royal  hotel at Lucknow in order to carry out their mission to liquidate Syed Modi.   The  respondent left for Delhi by Gomti mail in the morning of 27.7.1988.   On 28.7.1988 at  about 7.45 P.M., Syed Modi was shot dead by Amar Bahadur Singh, Bhagwati Singh @  Pappur and Balai Singh outside the north gate of the K.D. Singh Babu stadium at Lucknow  when the deceased was coming back after his badminton practice.   All the three killers  escaped from the place of incident in the Maruti van NO. HYG 1959 driven by Jitendra  Singh @ Tinku.

       The respondent was arrested on 16.8.1988 and the investigation revealed that the  respondent was at Haridwar on 28.7.1988 and he had been trying to contact his  accomplices at Lucknow to find out the developments.

       The police recovered some bullets from the place of occurrence and also from the  dead body of deceased Syed Modi.  The police also recovered a point 38 bore revolver  pursuant to the confession made by Amar Bahadur Singh.  A point 9 mm pistol was  recovered at the instance of accused Bhagwati Singh @ Pappu.   On the basis of the  material available with the investigating agency, they filed a charge sheet against the  respondent.   It is interesting to note that the original accused Dr. Sanjay Singh and Mrs.  Amita Kulkarni were implicated as accused, but both of them were discharged by an order  passed by the Sessions Judge and that order of discharge was challenged by the State  before the High Court unsuccessfully.  A Special Leave Petition also was filed before this  Court and that too ended in dismissal on 27.1.1994.   Therefore, the very basis of the  alleged conspiracy by the respondent with Dr. Sanjay Singh lost its substratum.    Admittedly, the respondent was not present at Lucknow when the incident happened.     Respondent was implicated in the case on the basis of the alleged conspiracy between  himself and the original accused Dr. Sanjay Singh.   There is no other material placed  before the court to prove the complicity of the respondent.  Mr. Ram Jethmalani, learned  Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondent drew our attention to the various  reasons given by the learned Single Judge for passing the impugned order. There was no  direct evidence to show that the respondent had supplied the weapons and rendered  assistance to the assailants in carrying out the common object of killing Syed Modi.    Had  the conspiracy charge been established, at least some of the acts and conduct of the  respondent could have been made admissible under the provisions of Section 10 of the  Evidence Act.   Once the main accused, who is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy and  who had the motive to kill the deceased was discharged, and when that matter had attained  finality, the learned Single Judge was fully justified in holding that no purpose would be  served in further proceeding  with the case against the respondent.

       Another contention urged by the appellant was that the High Court exercised the  jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Court after a long lapse of time.    It  is true that the respondent challenged the framing of charges against him after a  considerable delay, but it seems that the order of discharge passed in favour of the main  accused attained finality only in 1994 when this Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition.     It was thereafter only that the respondent approached the court with an application under  Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the learned Single Judge in those  circumstances condoned the delay.    We do not think that the power exercised by the High  Court suffered from any illegality or perversity.   Going by the facts and circumstances of  the case, we do not think that this is a fit case where this Court can interfere.  The appea l is  dismissed accordingly.