Taxpayers’ may refuse to pay taxes if govt fails to eradicate corruption : Bomaby High Court

By | February 7, 2016

Held

In my considered opinion, corruption can be beaten if all work together. To eradicate the cancer of corruption – the “hydra-headed monster”, it is now a high time for the citizens to come together to tell their Governments that they have had enough. That is this miasma of corruption. If the same continues, taxpayers’ may resort to refuse to pay taxes by ‘non-cooperation movement’. It is surprising that the Unions of Central or State Government employees, whether politically affiliated or otherwise, make demonstrations for demanding the application of VII Pay Commission, but they do not condemn, outcast or demonstrate against their counterpart bureaucracy indulging in corruption. On the contrary, they provide support.

HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY NAGPUR BENCH

Pralhad @ Pratap

v.

State of Maharashtra

A.B. CHAUDHARI, J.

CRIMINAL APPLICATION (ABA) NO. 642 OF 2015

JANUARY  27, 2016

O.D. Kakade, Advocate for the Applicant. Ms. N.P. Mehta for the Respondent.

ORDER

1. Heard learned counsel for the respective parties, at length.

2. In Crime No. 160/2015 registered at Police Station, Bhandara, for offence punishable under Sections 408, 409, 34 of the Indian Penal Code, the applicant is seeking grant of anticipatory bail.

3. The State Government established ‘Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Vikas Mahamandal’ for upliftment of “Matang” community, which falls in Scheduled Caste in the State of Maharashtra. It is known fact that though notified as Scheduled Caste, “Matang” community could not take advantage of a plethora of facilities, reservation, financial aids etc. meant for Scheduled Caste. This community is still mired in appalling poverty, too backward and a large number of its members have still been engaged in their traditional profession i.e. blowing trumpet or bugle for earning their livelihood.

4. One of the members of the Legislative Assembly, by name, Shri Ramesh Kadam, a political appointee-who was made Chairman of the Corporation, in connivance with the Managing Director of the Mahamandal, a bureaucrat -Shri Shravan Bawane, in cahoot with Bank Officers of Bank of Maharashtra withdrew crores of rupees by showing fake expenditure, disbursement of loan of subsidy, grant etc. and misappropriated the same unto themselves. It is indeed surprising that one of the main accused i.e. Managing Director of the Mahamandal-Shri Shravan Bawane is said to have been still absconding.

5. Paragraph 8 of the reply dated 16.12.2015 filed on behalf of the non-applicant-State shows misappropriation and embezzlement of amount to the tune of approximately Rs. 385 crores, which is stymieing. It shocks one and all as to the manner in which the taxpayers’ money is being swindled, misappropriated and robbed by such unscrupulous holders of posts. The money was meant for upliftment of the ‘Matang’ community and instead of that, the political appointee, the Chairman Ramesh Kadam, in league with the Managing Director and the Bank Officers of the Bank of Maharashtra, looted the tax payers’ money. How this huge amount of Rs. 385 crores will come back is a ‘million-dollar question’. For the last over two decades, this has become the order of the day and sordid state of affairs; whereas the taxpayers’ are merely looking at this grim situation. Does the taxpayers pay the money to the Government for such kind of acrobatics being played.

6. Ethics and morals have taken a back seat in modern India’s scheme of things. In my considered opinion, corruption can be beaten if all work together. To eradicate the cancer of corruption – the “hydra-headed monster”, it is now a high time for the citizens to come together to tell their Governments that they have had enough. That is this miasma of corruption. If the same continues, taxpayers’ may resort to refuse to pay taxes by ‘non-cooperation movement’. It is surprising that the Unions of Central or State Government employees, whether politically affiliated or otherwise, make demonstrations for demanding the application of VII Pay Commission, but they do not condemn, outcast or demonstrate against their counterpart bureaucracy indulging in corruption. On the contrary, they provide support.

7. There has been a report in the recent point of time that there are some more Corporations of the State of Maharashtra who have indulged into huge misappropriation of the taxpayers’ money in the alike fashion.

8. Therefore, this Court expects the Director General of Police, MS, Mumbai and rather requests him to take up such cases and find out the veracity of such a claim made in newspapers, and if there is substance, to immediately proceed to take action in all such cases as the taxpayers are in deep anguish. Let the Government as well as mandarins in the corridors of power understand the excruciating pain and anguish of the tax payers, who have been suffering for over two decades in the State of Maharashtra. There is a onerous responsibility on those who govern to prove to the taxpayers that eradication of corruption would not prove for them a “forlorn hope”.

9. Harking back on the facts of the present case, I quote the following portions from the affidavit dated 25.01.2016, filed on behalf of the non-applicant-State:

” 2…….In its reply, the non-applicant has stated in paragraph no. 3 that, the Chairman namely Ramesh Kadam of the Lok Shahir Annabhau Sathe Vikas Mahamandal had orally directed the Managing Director Shravan Bawane and the other employees of the head office situated at Mumbai to transfer the amount to Bhandara and therefore an amount of Rs. 12 crores were transferred to Bhandara from the head office Mumbai and the Chairman Ramesh Kadam also ordered District Managers of the other District to transfer an amount of Rs. 16 crores approx. to Bhandara. All together total amount of Rs. 28 crores were transferred to the accounts’ which were separately opened by the applicant in the Bank of Maharashtra, Main Branch, Bhandara. It is also pertinent to note, that the applicant also transferred an account which was non-operated in the branch of Ganeshpur Bank of Maharashtra to the main branch of Bank of Maharashtra Bhandara. The amount of Rs. 28 crores which was transferred to the aforesaid two accounts an amount of Rs. 24,69,48,000/- were withdrawn by self-cheques by the applicant.

3. ……..Further it is alleged that, the Chairman asked the present applicant to withdraw all the amount which was deposited in the said two accounts and accordingly present applicant withdrew the amount of Rs. 24,69,48,000/-. The Chairman on his personal level had also telephonically called Branch Manager of Bank of Maharashtra and informed him that, he should not object or interfere in the withdrawing of the cash amount by the present applicant i.e. Pralhad Pawar.

6. The Investigating officer had specifically asked him as to how and in which manner he has utilized the amount of Rs.24,69,48,000/-withdrawn by him to which the answer given was that he has distributed the said amount to the 3100 beneficiaries/members of the society, but when he was asked to give names of the beneficiaries/members the applicant failed to give the names and also had no documents regarding distribution of the amount to the said beneficiaries/members of the society. He failed to submit the names as well as documents to that effect. The answers given by the applicant were not satisfactory nor was it of any help in further investigation to the Investigating officer.”.

10. In the light of the above and the possible embezzlement of a huge sum of Rs. 24 crores from the office of the applicant where he was working, I think it would be wholly improper to grant anticipatory bail to the applicant. In that view of the matter, I make the following order:

ORDER

1. Criminal Application (ABA) No.642/2015 is rejected.

2. Steno copy to learned APP is granted. Stand over to 15.2.2016 for compliance.

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