New Delhi: The Supreme Court has permitted the CBI to prosecute a 25-year-old case wherein a group of people allegedly tried to defraud an insurance company by faking an accident.
The court has allowed the CBI to process the complaint under the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to initiate prosecution for perjury and cheating.
The incident dates back to 1993 in Karnataka’s Shimoga when BS Shantakumar’s Ambassador car strolled backwards and got damaged as he parked it recklessly. He then allegedly hatched a conspiracy with the co-accused who operated a taxi service.
The incident of negligence was sought to be passed off as an accident, involving a taxi operated by the other co-accused. One police officer was also complicit in the conspiracy, alleged the CBI, adding that this officer prepared a false report certifying that the Ambassador car was hit by some other vehicle.
The police officer made only the family members of Shantakumar as witnesses in the case. The taxi driver even pleaded guilty to the offence of negligently driving the vehicle so as to speed up compensation.
Subsequently, a claim of Rs 35 lakh was made before a Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT), seeking the damages from New India Assurance Co Ltd.
The CBI, through its anti-corruption branch, conducted its investigation and sought the prosecution of the police officer and four others under various charges.
But a Sessions Court exonerated them on all on a technicality that since the alleged offences of perjury and cheating was done not before it but before the MACT, the Sessions Court could not try them.
On an appeal by the CBI, the High Court ruled in favour of the prosecution but the accused came to the top court.
The Supreme Court has now permitted the CBI to make an appropriate application to the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT) under section 340 of the CrPC regarding the alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
“The MACT shall cause an inquiry to be made after hearing the petitioners-accused, and take a decision to file an appropriate complaint before the concerned court,” directed the court in a recent order.