The Delhi High court has acquitted two persons, who were allegedly caught red-handed for accepting a bribe of Rs 6,500 in 1998.
Justice Ajit Bharihoke, referring to the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) investigations as “slapdash” said, "Suspicion is, by no means, a substitute for proof," as none of the witnesses in the case ever supported the CBI theory.
On August 20, 1998, one Vijay Kumar, employed at the Registrar's office, registered a complaint with the CBI alleging that MN Sharma, then Sub-Registrar in the Delhi government office at Rampur, demanded a bribe of Rs 6,500 for registry of three sale deeds.
The CBI laid a trap and asked Kumar to hand over the money to Sharma in presence of its officials.
Roshan Lal Saini, a co-worker with Sharma, allegedly collected the money and the trial court convicted the duo in 2005, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Sharma and Lal filed a petition in the High Court, against the judgement of the trial court.
The judge said, "Coming to the evidence of recovery, neither the complainant nor witnesses Devender Kumar, Arshad Ali and Jagbir Singh have supported the case of the prosecution regarding the recovery of tainted money from of Roshan Lal's possession."
Rapping the CBI for shoddy investigations, the judge said, "The case of the prosecution thus rests on the solitary testimony of the trap-laying officer, which remains uncorroborated."
Both the accused claimed that they had neither demanded nor accepted bribe from the complainant. The court noted that the investigating agency never examined its own officers present during the raid to corroborate the version.