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State of Himachal Pradesh Vs. Nawab Khan and Another - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCr.A. No. 515 of 2005
AppellantState of Himachal Pradesh
RespondentNawab Khan and Another
.....of nahan town decided to pay visit to huz mukka. they contacted the travel agent, accused nawab khan. it was decided that a sum of rs. 59,000/- was to be paid by each haji to the accused nawab khan. thereafter, accused nawab khan was required to prepare the passport etc. of each haji, traveling expenses from delhi to jadda and return, visa, staying and food arrangements etc. during the haj period. on 9.2.2002, accused nawab khan sent bus from patiala and also sent accused hasmat khan and wife smt. satya khan in the bus. 50-60 persons reached the airport at about 6.00 a.m. at delhi. they found both the accused missing. all the hajis were stranded at delhi for 6 days and during these six days they suffered a lot on account of various problems. till 14.2.2002, the accused were not.....

Rajiv Sharma, J.

This appeal is directed against the judgment of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sirmaur District at Nahan in criminal case No. 20/2 of 2002/03 dated 14.9.2005, whereby the accused, who were charged with and tried for offences punishable under sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, have been acquitted.

2. Case of the prosecution, in a nutshell, is that a written complaint was given by Abdul Latif to the Superintendent of Police, Sirmaur District at Nahan on 16.2.2002 to the effect that some of the Mohammedans of Nahan town decided to pay visit to Huz Mukka. They contacted the travel agent, accused Nawab Khan. It was decided that a sum of Rs. 59,000/- was to be paid by each Haji to the accused Nawab Khan. Thereafter, accused Nawab Khan was required to prepare the passport etc. of each Haji, traveling expenses from Delhi to Jadda and return, visa, staying and food arrangements etc. during the Haj period. On 9.2.2002, accused Nawab Khan sent bus from Patiala and also sent accused Hasmat Khan and wife Smt. Satya Khan in the bus. 50-60 persons reached the airport at about 6.00 A.M. at Delhi. They found both the accused missing. All the Hajis were stranded at Delhi for 6 days and during these six days they suffered a lot on account of various problems. Till 14.2.2002, the accused were not available to the Hajis and once or twice the accused Nawab Khan had telephoned that he is making necessary arrangements. On 14.2.2002 all the pilgrims came back to Nahan. The matter was investigated by the police. The report of the Forensic Science Laboratory, Shimla was also obtained. After the completion of investigation and completing all the codal formalities, the challan was put up.

3. Prosecution has examined 20 witnesses in all to prove its case. Statements of the accused under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were recorded. According to them, they have been falsely implicated. According to accused Nawab Khan, he was a registered travelling agent and registered with the Labour Inspector, Patiala. He had done everything for sending the Hajis to Mekka Madeena. The Ministry of Haj South Arabia gave him the permission to take 56 Hajis to Mekka Madeena. He had deposited 10% amount of Mushaer Transport fair for 75 Hajis. He had also deposited a sum of Rs. 3,50,000/- with Global Passages Private Limited for the tickets of Hajis and also tendered the balance amount for staying of the pilgrims at Mekka. He paid Rs. 17,000/- for taking the passengers from Patiala to Nahan and then to Delhi. He also spent Rs. 10,000/- per Haji and also deposited Molan fees amounting to Rs. 13,500/- per Haji. He spent Rs. 3,000/- for obtaining the passport and Rs. 2,000/- each on the dresses for each Haji. A sum of Rs. 2,60,000/- was deposited in advance at Mekka and Madeena for getting the pilgrims to stay at Mekka and Madeena for 40 days. He incurred total expenses of Rs. 12,50,000/- approximately. According to him, most of the Hajis had not paid the total amount of 59,000/-, as agreed. The Hajis refused to give the enhanced fare, which was increased due to the attack by the terrorists on America. The accused have denied the involvement in the commission of offence. Learned trial court acquitted the accused on 14.9.2005. Hence, the present appeal.

4. Mr. Pramod Thakur, learned Additional Advocate General has vehemently argued that the prosecution has proved its case against the respondent.

5. Mr. Pankaj Thakur has supported the judgment of the trial court.

6. I have heard the learned counsel for the parties and have perused the records carefully.

7. PW-1 Joginder Singh has proved accounts Ex.PW-1/A. PW-2 Amrik Singh is the owner of the bus, in which Hajis were taken from Nahan to Delhi. PW-3 Mohammad Sarfraj was witness to Ikrarnama Ex.PW-3/A. PW-9 Suhail Sabir is witness of recovery memo Ex.PW-9/A. PW-10 Raj Kumar Singla is witness of endorsement Ex.PW-10/A. PW-11 Vijay Kumar is Manager of Global Passage Private Limited. He used to arrange tickets for foreign trips. He has supported the case of the accused by stating that the accused had deposited necessary amount for taking the Hajis to Mekka. He has also admitted that the Pakistan Air Flights were cancelled. He has also admitted that flights of Serena and Jordan were also full and accused Nawab Khan was looking for Quwait Air Lines. PW-13 Constable Kuldeep Kumar, PW-14 Constable Inder Dutt are witnesses of recovery memos Ex.PW-13/A and Ex.PW-14/A. PW-16 Gafoor is witness of recovery memo Ex.PW-16 and Ex.PW-16/B. PW-17 Lekh Ram has partly investigated the matter. He has taken the specimen handwriting and signatures of the accused in presence of the Executive Magistrate. He has also moved application to the bank authorities of the State Bank of Patiala Bandugar, Patiala for not releasing the amount to the accused. He has also taken into possession the passport of accused Nawab Khan. PW-19 Sushil Kumar is witness of recovery memos Ex.PW-19/A and Ex.PW-19/B. PW-20 Visheshwar Sharma has proved report/opinion Ex.PW-20/A as per opinion Ex.PW-20/B.

8. DW-1 Jasbir Singh has proved the document Ex.DW-1/A. DW-2 Javed Akhtar is working in Heena Travels at Antriskh Bhawan. He has been dealing with the accounts of traveling agency. He has stated that accused Nawab Khan had visited him and the Pakistani Air Lines were closed and only Quwait Air Lines were taking Hajis for Haj to Jadda on paying extra amount of Rs. 8,000/-.

9. It is clear from the statements of PW-4 Abdul Latif, PW-5 Sahira Bano, PW-6 Akbar Ali, PW-7 Fazal Deen PW-8 Nafisa Qureshi, PW-12 Jahoor Begum and PW-15 Maulvi Hussain Ahmed that different sums have been paid to the accused for making arrangements including boarding, lodging, traveling, Haj dress and air tickets etc. to take these persons on Haj pilgrimage. These witnesses have admitted that the amount was spent on obtaining visa and passport by making payment to different agencies. The bus was also arranged as per the statement of PW-2 Amrik Singh for taking pilgrims from Nahan to Delhi. It has also come on record that due to terrorist attack on America, many flights were cancelled. Only Quwait Air Lines was carrying passengers, i.e. on the extra amount of Rs. 8,000/-. It has also come on record that the accused Nawab Khan and his wife and other relatives were also travelling in the bus. All the pilgrims have not paid Rs. 59,000/-, as agreed between the parties. It is clear from Ex.D-1 to Ex.D-8 that accused had deposited necessary amounts with different authorities for arranging pilgrimage to Mekka. The Court has also gone through Ex.PW-3/A. It is not discernible from any documents that there was any lapse on the part of the accused. Accused had made all the arrangements of the Huj pilgrims from Nahan. It is also noticed that the prices of tickets were suddenly increased and only Quwait Air Lines was taking passengers from Delhi to Jordan. Accused had also obtained visa, tickets etc. of the pilgrims. The transportation was also arranged by the accused. Even if it is presumed that there was any breach of Ex.PW-3/A, it would fall in the realm of civil law and not criminal law. The endeavour of the pilgrims was only to get their money recovered on the basis of Ex.PW-3/A. It has also not come on record that who has written Ikrarnama as per the statement of PW-3. The trial court has correctly appreciated the evidence led by the prosecution. Consequently, there is no need to interfere with the judgment of the trial court.

10. Accordingly, in view of the observations and analysis made hereinabove, there is no merit in the appeal and the same is dismissed.

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