All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) spokesman Saket S. Gokhale has cited legal loopholes in the decision of the Meghalaya Lokayukta to dismiss his complaint against the scam in procurement of vehicles in the State police headquarters.
Gokhale who is the complainant has written a letter to the Meghalaya Lokayukta on November 16 pointing out that the complainant and witnesses must be given a chance to appear via video conferencing and exercise their right to record a statement.
In response, the Meghalaya Lokayukta has claimed that the complaint was dismissed under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973.
“This is entirely wrong in law because here’s what Section 249 of the CrPC states: When the proceedings have been instituted upon complaint, and on any day fixed for the hearing of the case, the complainant is absent, and the offence may be lawfully compounded or is not a cognizable offence, the Magistrate may, in his discretion, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, at any time before the charge has been framed, discharge the accused,” Gokhale said.
“It is clear, therefore, that the complaint may be dismissed in the absence of the accused only when the offence is compoundable or non-cognizable. Corruption, as defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, is neither a compoundable nor a non-cognizable offense. In fact, corruption is a serious cognizable offense which prescribes that those convicted are punishable with imprisonment which shall be not less than three years but which may extend to five years,” he added.
Gokhale also expressed shock as to how the Meghalaya Lokayukta invoked Section 249 of the CrPC in dismissing the complaint into the police vehicle scam when the offense is clearly non-compoundable as well as cognizable.
Stating that he intends to file a review petition with the Lokayukta in this matter, Gokhale said that the action of the Meghalaya Lokayukta in not providing the complainant and the witnesses a chance to depose via video conferencing and then invoking the CrPC wrongly to dismiss the complaint ex parte “is incredibly unfortunate and shocking”.