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news details
Anticorruption Court slams Jammu University, rejects VOJ’s closure report
Varsity official demanding money for viva
11/24/2022 10:45:13 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Nov 24: Special Judge Anticorruption Jammu Tahir Khurshid Raina today rejected the closure report of Vigilance Organization Jammu (now ACB) in FIR No. 04/2007 P/S VOJ, for offences u/s 5(2) PC Act 2006 BK r/w Sec 161 RPC.
The Special Judge while rejecting the closure report, directed SSP, Vigilance Organization, Jammu, (now ACB - Jammu) to go for further investigation into the case and submit the report within two months.
The court observed that On 12-05-2008, the Vigilance Organization, Jammu (VOJ) presented a closure report in terms of Sec. 173(3) CrPC in case FIR No. 04/2007 Police Station, VOJ titled State Vs Dr. Falendra K. Sudan. As per the said report prepared by SSP VOJ, Jammu, the case was "NOT PROVED" against the accused.
This court, while concurring with the findings of the VOJ, accepted the closure report and ordered the case to be closed as "NOT PROVED", as recorded in the order of this court dated 17-05-2008. Feeling aggrieved of this order, the complainant in the case challenged the same before the High Court at Jammu. The Hon'ble High Court vide its order dated 15-02-2022, passed in CRMC No. 391 of 2016 (O&M) titled Dr. Rajni Sharma Vs State of J&K & Ors., set aside the order with the following observations that "For the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the order impugned passed by the learned Special Judge Anti Corruption, Jammu is not sustainable in law, as such, the same is set aside. The Special Judge is directed to accord consideration to the closure report filed by the Vigilance Organization in FIR No. 04 of 2007 afresh after affording an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner".
The court further observed that pursuant to the said direction of the High Court, the complainant was put on notice to appear before this court in the case at hand. Finally, she appeared before the court on 03-07-2022 and her statement with regard to the closure report was recorded and in her statement so recorded she has once again reiterated her stand and revealed at length all those facts whereby she was demanded Rs. 20,000/- by her supervisor, the accused herein, for meeting the expenses of the visit of the external expert for conducting her viva and also to present gift to him as stated by the accused to her as a part of the tradition in the Jammu University to be followed. However, there was no such rule or written order of the university in this regard. That as she belonged to financially low profile family, it was difficult for her to arrange the entire amount instantly.
Therefore, she requested the accused to take Rs. 5000/- as the first installment and rest of Rs. 15,000/- to be paid well before the viva. That he agreed to the same. That she brought this matter in the notice of the Vigilance Organization, Jammu, which gave her a diary containing audio recorder for recording this whole deal wherein the accused agreed to take first installment of Rs. 5000/-. She did the same and got the whole conversation recorded between him and her regarding the said mode of payment. Thereafter, as per the deal she carried the said money to the office chamber of the accused and kept the same on the office table. However, as her visit was pre-planned by the VOJ, so trap team of VOJ was very much there to catch hold of the accused red handed. By the time, team went inside Chamber of the accused, he fell on the feet of the complainant, started weeping and tendered an apology. Then they both were separately taken to the Vigilance Office where she also handed over CD of the recorded voice to the VO. That thereafter her signatures were taken on 2-3 blank papers. In the meanwhile the university authorities also constituted the committee in context of conducting an enquiry in this regard. She presented the said report. However, on asking as to why she did not present said documents to the IO, she stated that for 1-2 times she went to the VOJ where she was told that it was a long drawn process and she would be called when required. Later on the accused, along with his friend Prof. Jasbir Singh harassed her a lot in her pursuit of Ph.d and finally they managed the closure of this case by the VOJ. That she is not satisfied with the investigation done in the case.
The Special Judge observed that a very crucial piece of evidence, which is the part of the charge sheet is CD, based on the alleged recorded voice of the accused. It is alleged by the complainant that it contains pre-trap conversation between her and the accused, wherein he is demanding the said money for bearing expenses of the visit of expert for conducting viva of the complainant. Fact remains that when this recording was made by the very instrument provided by the VOJ itself to the complainant, then why the IO ignored the same and did not get its veracity tested by the FSL. It was an important piece of evidence which stands ignored by the IO in formulating his opinion in the case.
On my hearing, the said alleged recorded conversation between the accused and the complainant, prima facie gives an impression of arranging money by the complainant on the direction of the accused for meeting the expenses of the outside expert. Even he has said in the alleged recording that in case it was not affordable by her, he would not have fixed the date of viva. Does it not mean demand of the amount at his part? And amazingly IO is looking for demand of the same by the accused on the spot where trap team entered into the office-chamber of the accused. What a shallow understanding of the concept of "demand and acceptance" shown by the IO of the case in the closure report on the basis of which he closed the case as "NOT PROVED" against the accused.
The court further observed that it is however very surprising that on one hand the IO has concluded the case 'NOT PROVED' against the accused and on the other hand has stated that it stands established in the investigation that such a practice is going on in the University whereby students are being told to arrange money as per their capacity for "Looking after the outsider examiner". It is observed in the report as such "...the present case is a glaring example of such a precedent where Dr. Falendra K. Sudan (Accused herein), Reader, department of Economics, University of Jammu had asked the complainant to arrange Rs. 5000/- for the said purpose..." Such a contrary conclusions drawn by the author of the closure report are prima-facie unwarranted and unsustainable in the backdrop of the facts and circumstances of the case. If any illegal practice was going on in the Jammu University over the years as observed in the closure report itself, then how come the accused was allowed to go scot-free who has prima-facie made a demand of payment of Rs. 20,000/- to the complainant for bearing the expenses of the visit of the expert, which otherwise University has to bear it at its own. If no student till then came forward boldly to speak against this illegal practice of Guides in the department, that does not mean that on account of said illegal and unethical practice it attained a legal status which should have influenced the SSP vigilance to conclude the case as 'NOT PROVED' against the accused.
The Court further observed that what is the message given by the VOJ to a bonafide student who raised the voice against this illegal and unethical act committed by her supervisor in the department, compelled her to manage money for bearing expenses of the expert to conduct her viva for award of a Doctorate degree. Very unfortunate at the part of Jammu University where such illegal practice was going on, unnoticed of the University administration. It looks this practice was sustaining with the tacit approval of the University administration which is quite horrendous and unacceptable. In-fact a bold message was required to be given by the VOJ exposing this illegality going on in the University, which unfortunately got opaqued by the VOJ at the relevant times for the reasons best know to them. But passing of the time will not condone the alleged illegality committed.
The court further observed that fact remains that the court has not to act as the post office of the VOJ to treat their every word as a gospel truth. Though there is a symbolic band on the eyes of goddess of justice, but judge presiding over the court is not blind. People have reposed their full faith in the courts as neutral institutions of administration of justice and courts have to live up to this faith to their fullest. However, this court has to uphold its sanctity, majesty, faith, uprightness et al, purely and squarely by resorting to the due process of law and justice, unaffected and un-influenced of any personal whim and wish of the judge.
The Court further observed that I do not find myself in agreement with the conclusion drawn by the SSP, VOJ in the instant closure report and as put earlier, the demand or acceptance of the money by the accused should have been appreciated by the IO as put in the foregoing paras. For that to acknowledge in its true perspective, the best piece of evidence to corroborate this fact was the CD which was given to VOJ by the complainant. Had it been considered and subjected to scientific test, probably the conclusion drawn might have been different. With these observations, the Court rejected the closure report and returned to the SSP, Vigilance Organization, Jammu, (now ACB - Jammu) with a direction to go for further investigation into the case and submit the report within two months. (JNF)
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