A court here in Maharashtra has acquitted a deputy registrar of cooperative societies and another official in a bribery case of 2012, giving them benefit of doubt. District Judge (ACB court) Shailendra Tambe in his order passed on April 13, a copy of which was made available on Thursday, said the prosecution failed to prove the corruption charges against the two accused.
The prosecution had alleged that on February 12, 2012, the then deputy registrar of cooperative societies, Mahesh Salunke-Patil (55), demanded Rs 3.50 lakh for himself and woman officer Vidya Deshmukh (38) to issue a favourable verification report to a housing society in Thane and not to dissolve its managing committee.
Patil had allegedly demanded Rs one lakh as the first instalment from the housing society’s secretary the same day. The prosecution also told the court that Patil did not accept the bribe as he was not present in his office when the complainant went there to give him the money.
The counsel for the accused told the court that their clients were not connected to the case and there was no payment of bribe.
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In his order, the judge said the complainant alleged that the accused had demanded money by writing on a chit of paper, which was not seized by the investigating officer nor did the latter send the handwriting sample of the accused for verification. It is also found there are three investigating officers in the case and the first one was not examined by the prosecution, the court said. The prosecution has also not explained the two-year delay in lodging the FIR against the accused, it noted.
The investigating officer has not submitted the CD of the conversation between the accused and the complainant along with the charge sheet, the court observed. The complainant and the investigating officer deposed that accused Patil was not found in his office when the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) sleuths went trap him, it noted. In view of the above facts and circumstances, the court has found that the bribery charge against the accused is not proved and the complainant’s evidence to that effect is not corroborative, the court said while acquitting the two accused.