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Dharam Pal Bhardwaj Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Criminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 15 of 1976
Reported in1985CriLJ474; 27(1985)DLT233; 1985(8)DRJ145
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 170, 466, 467 and 474; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 161 and 164
AppellantDharam Pal Bhardwaj
RespondentThe State
.....of the said court. a further direction was given for the passport and other international travel documents of the minor child to be handed over to the solicitors of the husband. a petition seeking protection of minor child was thereupon filed by father of the husband before delhi high court. a direction for handing over custody of child to father of husband was also sought. the high court considering fact that the u.k. court was already in seisin of matter and had passed an interim order and by relying on principle of comity of nations and comity of judgments of the courts of two different countries in deciding the matter directed the wife to take the child of her own to u.k.or hand it over to father of husband to be taken to u.k. as measure of interim custody and that it would be and judicial orders etc. in several documents dharam pal bhardwaj had described himself a joint director, vigilance and put his signatures accordingly. the other file ex. p. 3 contained pages from 1 to 30, and it had copies of judgments, allegedly given by different courts, and some receipts and letters etc. the investigation revealed that they were all forged documents, and the modus operandi adopted by dharam pal was to represent to the people at large that he was joint director, vigilance, and was in an important position to exert influence and carry out works and solve problems of the people. in this process he did not hesitate to extract money by representing to persons that they were likely to be arrested, or serious criminal charges leveled against them in case they did.....

1. Dharam Pal Bhardwaj was tried in the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, for offence under sections 170 and 474, I.P.C. He was, however, acquitted of the former charge. Conviction instead followed under S. 474, I.P.C. and the sentence awarded was two years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2,000/-. In default of payment of fine, he has been required to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six months.

2. Dharam Pal, appellant, feeling aggrieved, has now moved the present appeal before this Court. The State, however, has not come in any appeal against his acquittal under S. 170, I.P.C. although it must be said that the judgment of the learned trial Court, acquitting him on this count, does not appear to be based on sound reasoning. The evidence of two independent respectable witnesses, one of whom was the complainant in the case and is a Dentist by profession, was ignored on a minor infirmity of particular part of statement having not been stated before the police under S. 161, Cr.P.C. Since this part of the controversy is not germane to this appeal, I need not go further on this aspect or discuss the evidence which was led in this regard before the trial Court.

3. The conviction has been made under S. 474, I.P.C. which makes it an offence to be in possession of any document, knowing the same to be forged and intending that the same shall fraudulently or dishonestly be used as genuine. In case such document purports to be a record of proceeding of or in a Court of justice or made by a public servant in his official capacity as envisaged by S. 466, I.P.C., the punishment prescribed is 7 years with fine. If, however, such document purports to be a valuable security or will or an authority of adoption etc., as mentioned in S. 467, I.P.C., the punishment can extend up to imprisonment for life along with fine.

4. Briefly stated, the prosecution case was that Dharam Pal Bhardwaj was taken into custody on the morning of 6-6-1968 from the premises of M/s. Globe Calendar Corporation, Roshanara Road, Delhi. At that time, he was found to be in possession of two files, one of which (Ex. P. 2) had pages 1 to 134 purporting to be documents issued by a number of officials, both judicial and executive, and some statements purported to be recorded under S. 164, Cr.P.C. and judicial orders etc. In several documents Dharam Pal Bhardwaj had described himself a Joint Director, Vigilance and put his signatures accordingly. The other file Ex. P. 3 contained pages from 1 to 30, and it had copies of judgments, allegedly given by different Courts, and some receipts and letters etc. The investigation revealed that they were all forged documents, and the modus operandi adopted by Dharam Pal was to represent to the people at large that he was Joint Director, Vigilance, and was in an important position to exert influence and carry out works and solve problems of the people. In this process he did not hesitate to extract money by representing to persons that they were likely to be arrested, or serious criminal charges leveled against them in case they did not heed to him. His past record was also stated to be similar, and there were a number of cases filed against him of cheating, forgery etc., but he obtained acquittals as at the stage of evidence, the same could not be fully procured, or witnesses resoled. In one of the cases before the Punjab High Court, he was acquitted because he was at that time quit young, and the Court felt that his physique and personality was not such as should have caused deception to others about his profession of high status. His wife is stated to be an employee in the All India Radio, and she had also been, it was alleged, representing to others who had some problems, that he was a person who wielded influence in the official circles, and could get them resolved.

5. The first of the documents in file Ex. P. 2 was a record of proceedings which Dharam Pal purported to make with regard to a case in the Court of Shri H. L. Sikka, S.D.M., New Delhi. The same covered the period 30-12-1967 to 9-5-1968. This paper kept record of what he had done on different dates, describing himself as 'D. P. Bhardwaj, I.P.S., Joint Director (Vigilance)'. The investigation revealed that no such case was registered with the Central Bureau of Investigation, nor was pending before Shri H. L. Sikka, S.D.M. One of the notes mentioned that one M. K. Mittal had been arrested on 4-3-1968, and produced before Shri H. L. Sikka, S.D.M. on the next date, and remanded to jail up to 11-3-1968. This M. K. Mittal was said to be one of the person who had floated a concern as Alankar Housing & Construction Co. Pvt. Ltd., and had obtained various amounts from a large number of persons in lieu of allotment of plots in a colony which was said to be approved by the Haryana Government in District Gurgaon. It had later been revealed that there was, in fact, no such approved colony, nor the Company or its directors were owners of the land. Some of the persons who had thus been duped, were working in the All India Radio, and there Dharam Pal's wife, Sneh Lata, represented that he could manage refund of their amounts. A number of applications from those persons were then obtained by Sneh Lata and the witnesses examined are Mrs. Ved Gwatra (P.W. 8), Raghubir Chand (P.W. 9) and Ramesh Chand Puri (P.W. 11). They are independent persons, and are not shown to be, in any manner, inimical to the accused Dharam Pal Bhardwaj. From his side, much has been sought to be made out that no money was taken by the accused from them, and they admitted that the accused or his wife did not extract or exploit anything from them. However it were not these persons who had already fallen victim to the deception enacted by the colonisers who were further sought to be extorted money. Rather the object was to obtain writing from them, create fictitious documents of the registration of a case against the directors of the coloniser company, and then extract money from them. It was, thereforee, in this context that the accused or his wife represented to the witnesses that the accused could get their money back. Of course, the prosecution has not produced the directors of that company, in order to show that the accused actually used these documents to extract money from them and intimidated them. However, the offence of which the accused was charged, has been under S. 474, I.P.C. which renders the mere possession of documents, knowing them to be forged and intending the same to be fraudulently and dishonestly used as genuine as offence. Thus even if those documents were not actually used, would not absolve the accused from the mischief of the provisions contained in S. 474, I.P.C. So far as his intention to fraudulently and dishonestly use them as genuine, the very nature of the documents and the consistent long course of conduct in preparing them from time to time, leads to positive inference towards that. Admittedly the accused did not hold any post as Joint Director, Deputy Director or Inspector in the Vigilance Department of the Central Bureau of Investigation, much less that he was an I.P.S. Officer.

6. At pages 5 and 6 of this file are orders made by Mr. H. L. Sikka, S.D.M. Delhi, with forged summons of the Court from 11-3-1968 to 6-6-1968. The witness examined in this regard has been Sat Pal (P.W. 20), who was the reader of Mr. H. L. Sikka. He denied that these orders contained the signatures of Mr. H. L. Sikka. He was acquainted with his signatures as he had worked with him as reader, and had seen him writing and signing.

7. At page 7 of this file is again a letter addressed by the accused as Joint Director, Vigilance, to Sh. S. Tandon, Inspector General of Police, and Sh. K. K. Bhasin, Magistrate 1st Class, New Delhi, and Director General of Bureau of Investigation (Vigilance). There is a stamp and signatures on it of the Magistrate and some noting also. They have also been found to be the forged and fictitious. Sh. K. K. Bhasin was examined as P.W. 26 and he denied having received any such communication or signed the letter at place marked 'A'.

8. At pages 10, 11, 12 and 13 are two other letters and an envelop which the accused sent to Mr. H. L. Sikka, and one of them purports to contain his order to the effect that the accused had arrested M. K. Mittal and produced him before him, and he was remanded to jail. These signatures are also forged as per deposition of his reader Sat Pal. In fact, there was no case at all registered as mentioned in these letters, nor M. K. Mittal remanded as a result thereof. Page 17 of this file contains a warrant of arrest purported to be issued by Mr. K. K. Bhasin, vide EX. P.W. 26/A. This too had been found to be forged, and there was no such case pending. This warrant the accused had forwarded to the Superintendent of Police (South) vide letter at page 15. The letter itself was lying in the file so seized with some nothings.

9. At page 19 there is a letter addressed by the accused as Joint Director, to Mr. D. N. Tandon, I.A.S., Deputy Commissioner in which mention was made of the complaints received from Raghbir Chand, Raj Rani, Ved Ahluwalia against M. K. Mittal. One of those complaints by Raghbir Chand is Ex. P.W. 9/A at page 21. His statement were also purported to have been recorded under sections 164 and 161 Cr.P.C. vide Ex. P.W. 9/E and Ex. P.W. 9/1 by Mr. A. C. Kher, Magistrate 1st class, Delhi, and a police officer. Raghbir Chand who retired as Assistant Principal Information Officer, Press Information Bureau, was examined as P.W. 9 in this regard, and denied that his statements were ever so recorded. He has also deposed that he had known the accused because of his wife Sneh Lata as she was his colleague in the All India Radio, and that later the accused came to his office and told him that he knew someone in the Intelligence Bureau who would look into the entire affair and obtain refund. Shri A. C. Kher, A.D.M., was examined as P.W. 24 and he denied his signatures on the purported statement under S. 164 Cr.P.C. recorded by him of Raj Rani at page 31 of that file. This Raj Rani was the wife of Raghbir Chand (P.W. 9) whose papers had also been given by him to the accused.

10. At page 39 of the file, there is an application which P.W. 8 Mrs. Ved Gwatra handed over to the accused's wife Sneh Lata with regard to her deposits with the Alankar Housing and Construction Co. Pvt. Ltd. On this there is a note purported to be by Mr. S. P. Verma, Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, forwarding this application to D. P. Bhardwaj, I.P.S. Additional Director. These were again forged and fictitious and the evidence in this regard is of P.W. 28 V. D. Sharma retired Assistant Director, Intelligence Bureau. The present whereabouts of Mr. S. P. Verma, according to him, are not known. He had seen S. P. Verma signing and writing. He even added that the seal affixed was not genuine.

11. At page 45 are the statements under sections 164 and 161, Cr.P.C. recorded of V. K. Ahluwalia as P.W. 8 Ved Gwatra was known before the marriage. She denied having made these statements. The former purported to bear the signatures of Mr. A. C. Kher, Magistrate 1st Class who appeared as P.W. 24 and denied those signatures.

12. At page 77 of this file is an order purported to be issued by Mr. D. P. Kohli, Director, Central Bureau of Investigation on 23-4-1968. It was marked to Joint Director (Vigilance). P.W. 17 M. L. Gulati, Office Superintendent of the Central Bureau of Investigation who had received various documents signed by Mr. D. P. Kohli in the discharge of his official duties stated that this was not signed by him. He also stated that it did not bear the seal of the department.

13. At page 81 is a letter addressed by the accused as Joint Director (Vigilance) to J. P. Sharma, Superintendent of Police, New Delhi. According to this immediate action was sought to be taken on the complaint regarding the refund of payment made to N.L.F. Housing Society. P.W. 18 O. P. Chitkara, Crime Assistant, who was working in the office of the said Superintendent of Police, stated that no such letter was received there.

14. Another witness examined is Sh. A. K. Kapoor, Deputy Director Industries, who was Magistrate 1st Class in the year 1968, and he denied his signatures at page 26 of the file Ex. P. 2, and stated that they were forged. They are Ex. P.W. 27/A-1 and Ex. P.W. 27/A-2. P.W. 3 N. K. Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Rohtak was S.D.M., New Delhi in 1968. According to him the printed form of the type Ex. P.W. 23/A which was found in this file, was not used in his office or Court as far as he recollected. P.W. 25 Nand Lal, A.S.I., was working with Shri S. Tandon I.P.S. who was in the year 1968 D.I.G. He stated that letter Ex. P. 25/A was not received in that office, as it did not bear the diary number of the office. The nothings 'A', 'B' and 'C' on the same were also not of his office. P.W. 22 Jagir Singh was the general receipt clerk in the year 1968 of Sh. S. N. Dey, I.P.S., and denied that the letter Ex. P.W. 22/A was received in their office. P.W. 18 O. P. Chitkara was the head constable in the office of S.P.E/CIA/I in the year 1966-68. He denied the receipt of any letter as Ex. P.W. 18/B and Ex. P.W. 18/C in their office. P.W. 17 M. L. Gulati was assistant in Administrative Section of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He denied his signatures at point Ex. P.W. 17/A on the same. That document is at page 77 of the file Ex. P. 2.

15. With this state of the documents contained in the file Ex. P. 2, it is apparent that fairly good number of fictitious documents were being created from time to time in the same of different officers, and thereby M. K. Mittal and the Alankar Housing Construction Co. Pvt. Ltd. were sought to be involved in a criminal case. The fact that the witnesses who have been the colleagues of the accused's wife, and some of whom had met the accused also, had been approaching him with regard to that coloniser, brings in the nexus that the accused had either himself forged these documents or procured them and kept them in his possession in order to use them against the coloniser. It could not be for fun, and the inference is irresistible that the same was for dishonest and fraudulent purpose.

16. The witnesses of the recovery of these two files from the possession of the accused on 6-6-1968 when he was at the Globe Calendar Corporation, are five in numbers. They are P.W. 10 Bulaki Das and, P.W. 15 Rishi Kumar who were the attesting witnesses of the recovery memo, P.W. 30 B. R. Handa the Investigating Officer, P.W. 1 Dr. Sat Pal Sachdeva, the complainant, and P.W. 16 Brij Mohan. Much has been sought to be made out from the side of the accused as to whether this recovery was effected at about 9 or 10 a.m., or by about 12 noon on that date. It is pointed out that on the same day, the house of the accused had also been searched, and certain recoveries made there, though they had not been found to be incriminating for the present case. I am, however, of the opinion that this minor discrepancy about time factor, does not need to be given any significance, considering the fact that the witnesses have deposed almost six years after the recovery of the files from the accused. The witnesses have stated that they signed the recovery memo on the same day, and also signed on each page of the files. None of them is shown to be inimical to the accused, or otherwise interested to falsely implicate him. They are also not, in any manner, shown to be under the influence of the police. Their testimony, thereforee, dose not call for rejection. The learned trial Court has rightly relied upon their evidence. It is correct that the statements under S. 161, Cr.P.C. of the two attesting witnesses of the recovery, namely, P.W. 10 Bulaki Das and P.W. 15 Rishi Kumar, were recorded about a week after seizure of the files. However, their attestations on the seizure memos exist of 6-6-1968, and they have testified to this attestation on that date. The non-mention of the details of each and every page in this recovery memo again need not be given undue significance the witnesses stated that they signed each and every page of the file.

17. P.W. 5 Dr. S. R. Brooaha Fertiliser Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, and P.W. 6 B. L. Marwah, retired Joint Director, Agriculture, both stated that the accused got himself introduced as Joint Director, C.B.I. The latter as well as P.W. 29 Ram Lal stated how the accused volunteered to get traced the car which had knocked down and killed the son of Ram Lal in March, 1958 when he was going on a scooter. P.W. 7 Bhim Singh, S.I. deposed that Dr. Sachdeva, P.W. 1, had told him on pointing out to the accused that he had representing himself as Joint Director, C.B.I. Dr. Sachdeva too had deposed accordingly. Although the first charge against the accused pertaining to Dr. Sachdeva has been treated as not proved by the trial Court, their evidence is relevant in so far as the accused had been representing himself as Joint Director, C.B.I.

18. It may also be relevant to mention that both Bulaki Das P.W. 10 and Rishi Kumar, P.W. 15, are the employees at the Globe Calendar Corporation from where two files Ex. P. 2 and Ex. P. 3 were seized from the possession of the accused.

19. P.W. 13 Roshan Singh denied that the writing Ex. P.W. 13A and Ex. P.W. 13/B were of Narender Singh and S. C. Katoch, D.S.P., as he had worked under them, and had seen them writing and signing.

20. With this state of the evidence on record, and the circumstance of the case, I have little hesitation in upholding the findings of the learned trial Court that the two files Ex. P. 2 and Ex. P. 3 containing the aforesaid documents, were actually recovered from the accused, and that he had forged these judicial documents or get them forged intending to fraudulently and dishonestly use them as genuine. He was, thereforee, rightly held guilty of the offence under S. 474, I.P.C. He has shown a wide ranging propensity to dupe people, and in his wicked ingenuity assumed to himself the high post of Joint Director (Vigilance). As already observed above, these documents were engineered by him in order to pressurise the directors of the Alankar Housing & Construction Pvt. Ltd., by representing that criminal cases were under investigation against them.

21. I, thereforee, maintain the conviction of Dharam Pal Bhardwaj under S. 474, I.P.C. I should have been inclined to enhance the sentence keeping in view the mischief sought to be enacted by him. However, he is not shown to be a previous convict. I, thereforee, maintain the sentence. Since he is on bail, he be taken into custody to serve his sentence.

22. Appeal dismissed.

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