1. By making false and fraudulent representations to some bankers to the effect that he was going to import hides and skins of commercial quality the petitioner succeeded in opening Letters of Credit in some banks and in inducing those bankers to remit foreign exchange equivalent to the highly inflated value of the goods mentioned in the invoices of the shippers. The Reserve Bank and the Government of India were defrauded to the tune of more than Rs. 34 Lakhs. With these allegations, the Special Police Establishment filed a charge-sheet against the petitioner and others for offences (1) under Section 120-B read with Section 420, I. P. C., (2) under Section 23 read with Section 4 (1) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and (3) under Section 132 of the Customs Act. The prosecution filed a memo before the learned Magistrate stating that in view of the magnitude of the amount involved in the cheating it would be in the interest of justice to have the case tried by the Court of Session, which, in the event of conviction, could impose a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the offences committed by the petitioner. The learned Chief Presidency Magistrate agreed with the contentions, converted the case into a committal case and transferred the same to the file of the Fifth Presidency Magistrate for further enquiry. The correctness of this order is now canvassed in this revision.
2. Clause (1) of Section 347 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that if in any enquiry before a Magistrate or in any trial before a Magistrate before signing the judgment it appears to him at any stage of the proceedings that the case is one which ought to be tried by the Court of Session or High Court, and if he is empowered to commit for trial, he shall commit the accused under the provisions hereinbefore contained. Thus, either because of the gravity of the matter or for any other sufficient reason, if the Magistrate opines that the Sessions Court was the proper tribunal for the disposal of the case, he can commit the case. It was so held in In the matter of Chinnamarigadu, ILR (1876) Mad 289 The terms of Section 347 are general and give a Magistrate, who is empowered to commit, a discretion in committing cases for trial. 'If he considers, for instance, that a complicated question of law arises or that some connected matter is already before the Court of Session or that the facts are such that trial with the aid of a jury or with the aid of assessors would be a more satisfactory procedure, he can commit the case' vide Crown Prosecutor v. Bhagavathi ILR 42 Mad 83 : AIR 1919 Mad 907.
3. The words 'at any stage of the, proceedings' in Section 347 are words of the widest amplitude and, as I have already observed, the decision in ILR (1876) Mad 289 lays down as axiomatic that it is competent to a Magistrate to say whether from the gravity of the matter or for any other sufficient reason that the Sessions Court is the proper tribunal for the disposal of the case. Considering the gravity of the matter the learned Chief Presidency Magistrate has correctly held that this is a case which should be dealt with by the Sessions Court,
4. Mr. V. P. Raman, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner, contends that on the facts now placed before the Court, no offence whatever is made out. He further contends that the facts of this case are almost identical with the facts of the case covered by the decision in State by Public Prosecutor v. N. A. Abdul Wahab in Crl. R. C. No. 865 of 1969 (Mad) of this Court. This is a matter which he should urge before the Magistrate, who is now dealing with the case, and it would be open to the said Magistrate, to consider the contentions thus advanced by him.
5. The revision fails and the same is dismissed.