HC grants bail to former Mantralaya employee accused in ₹1.5 crore job scam | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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HC grants bail to former Mantralaya employee accused in 1.5 crore job scam

BySahyaja MS
Apr 01, 2024 08:56 AM IST

Former Mantralaya peon accused in ₹1.5 crore job scam granted bail by Bombay HC due to lack of evidence of direct involvement.

Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) recently granted bail to a former peon of the general administration department of Mantralaya who was accused of being involved in a 1.5 crore job scam duping several candidates. The court found that there was no evidence of direct involvement by the accused Ankush Shahebrao Babar in the job scam.

Four people, including one woman and three men, were booked for allegedly duping a dentist of over <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1 crore by falsely offering him a job at the Mantralaya in Mumbai. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
Four people, including one woman and three men, were booked for allegedly duping a dentist of over 1 crore by falsely offering him a job at the Mantralaya in Mumbai. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Babar, along with seven others, were accused of promising jobs to candidates in Mantralaya. Therefore, Babar was booked by the DCB CID, Unit 6 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating and fraud. According to police reports, a group led by Nitin Sathe, duped job-seekers of 1.5 crore.

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Under the pretence of conducting interviews for clerical positions, Sathe and his accomplices, including peons - Babar, Sachin Dolas, and four others - preyed upon unsuspecting individuals, promising them employment within the government bureaucracy. To bolster their credibility, the gang even went so far as to arrange medical examinations for the purportedly ‘selected candidates’ at JJ Hospital, issuing them with counterfeit appointment letters.

The extent of the scam became apparent after the filing of a 450-page chargesheet by the city crime branch, outlining a litany of offences including cheating, forgery, breach of trust, criminal intimidation, and conspiracy. Victims, numbering 35 in total, found themselves swindled out of substantial sums of money, with the gang’s elaborate ruse finally unravelling following the courageous actions of Sagar Jadhav, who lodged the first complaint in December 2018.

The involvement of individuals claiming connections within bureaucratic circles further added credibility to their deceit. Even JJ Hospital officials were deceived by the authenticity of forged documents. It is alleged that Babar facilitated the entry of the candidates into the Mantralaya by misusing the employee identity card and took them to the chamber, where the co-accused Sathe made a farce of the interview of those candidates.

During the bail hearing, Babar’s counsel argued that his role was limited to facilitating candidates’ entry into Mantralaya premises using his employee identity card. It was contended that Babar neither induced any candidate nor directly benefited from the fraudulent activities. The defence emphasised Babar’s age, 60, and the completion of the investigation as grounds for bail.

However, the prosecution, represented by assistant public prosecutor Gauri Rao, vehemently opposed Babar’s bail plea. It was argued that Babar’s complicity, albeit indirect, was crucial in executing the scam. Rao highlighted that the fraudulent scheme had duped numerous unemployed individuals, resulting in a loss exceeding 1.5 crore.

Upon perusing the case documents and considering the arguments presented, Justice NJ Jamadar observed that while Babar had facilitated access to Mantralaya, there was no evidence of direct involvement in the fraudulent inducement or financial gains. Additionally, the judge noted Babar’s prolonged incarceration, advanced age, and the low risk of tampering with evidence or fleeing from justice.

Considering these factors, the court allowed Babar’s bail application. He was directed to furnish a personal recognizance bond of 30,000 with sureties and adhere to specific conditions, including regular reporting to the DCB CID and refraining from tampering with evidence or intimidating witnesses.

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