Gujarat HC has denied the plea by a GSLDC official charged with corruption to dismiss a second FIR
After cash worth Rs 1.28 lakh, gold earrings, and a bill of Rs 30,584 were allegedly recovered during a raid at the office in April 2018, one FIR was filed
In a judgement dated January 24, the Gujarat High Court refused to reject one of the two FIRs filed against a Gujarat State Land Development Corporation (GSLDC) official in Gandhinagar, who was accused with offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
After cash worth Rs 1.28 lakh, gold earrings, and a bill of Rs 30,584 were allegedly recovered during a raid at the office in April 2018, one FIR was filed with the ACB police station in Gandhinagar against the then GSLDC MD Kanaiyalal Detroja and another official. A second FIR was filed against Detroja at the ACB police station in Gandhinagar a few days later for the unaccounted cash and gold discovered.
The petitioner, Detroja, had argued in front of the high court that the second FIR is nothing more than a repeat of the inquiry that had already occurred in the first FIR, for which a chargesheet had already been issued, and that the law prohibits the filing of another FIR for the same offence.
After applying the "Test of Sameness" and "Test of Consequence," the court of Justice Gita Gopi ruled that the two FIRs could not be regarded as one or merged.
The Supreme Court's "Test of Sameness" is used to determine if both FIRs are related to the same incident or are related to incidents that are two or more components of the same transaction.
If the second FIR occurs as a result of the first FIR's alleged crime, the offences covered by both FIRs are the same, and the second FIR would be illegal.
The court noted that the first FIR was completed upon receipt of gratification, with chargesheets submitted against two people, including Detroja, and the second FIR against Detroja was registered to start the criminal case.
The state told the court that there should be a distinction made between the two FIRs filed under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act. While the first FIR details the circumstances of the raid, the second FIR cannot be called a second FIR because it is just against Detroja, who failed to account for the cash and gold seized in his hands, according to the state.
The court determined that the two FIRs are not the same since the second FIR is focused on the unaccounted cash and gold found in Detroja's possession, whereas the first FIR indicated that Detroja claimed he was collecting the gold and cash on behalf of another accused in the first FIR.
The court determined that the second FIR "does not result from the offence charged in the first FIR," qualifying the "Test of consequence."
The court noted that the first FIR's investigation would be completed when the witnesses' statements were recorded and the chargesheet was filed, whereas the second FIR's inquiry would begin by asking the accused to furnish details of his assets and bank statements.