HC acquits two RTO officials convicted of accepting bribe
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Madurai: The Madras high court has acquitted two regional transport office (RTO) officials in Sivaganga, who were convicted by a lower court for taking bribe to release a seized auto.
Setting aside the order, justice G R Swaminathan cited that the prosecution had failed to establish that there was a demand for gratification as the complainant turned hostile. The judge further directed the trial court to initiate proceedings against the complainant and directed the registry to monitor the follow up action taken.
Mani, regional transport officer at Sivaganga and Veerasamy, a temporary junior assistant were arrested by the DVAC in 2008 for demanding and accepting Rs 800 bribe, after setting a trap based on a complaint given by Abbas for releasing his auto.
The special court for Prevention of Corruption Act cases in 2014, convicted Mani and Veerasamy for various offences and imposed one year and two years rigorous imprisonment respectively and also imposed Rs 1,000 fine. The court had acquitted another public servant from the case.
Challenging the order, Mani and Veerasamy had filed an appeal before the high court Madurai bench. Hearing the plea, the judge observed, “Mere recovery by itself would not prove the charge. The proof of demand is an indispensable essentiality.”
The judge said the complainant (Abbas) turned hostile and even went to the extent of disowning a substantial part of the complaint. While the testimony of the complainant does not implicate the accused in the case, a shadow witness had testified that Veerasamy demanded the bribe and got Rs 800 and gave Rs 500 to Mani, the judge added. “When the star witness has stabbed the prosecution in the back, the cameo performance by the shadow witness will not resurrect the prosecution case,” said the judge.