HC refuses to quash FIR against former Chairman J&K Bank

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3,000 illegal backdoor engagements in J&K Bank

STATE TIMES NEWS

SRINAGAR: The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court dismissed petition filed by one Parvez Ahmad Nengroo seeking quashment of FIR registered by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the much publicized alleged 3,000 illegal backdoor engagements in J&K Bank.
Justice Sanjay Dhar, while dismissing petition observed that counsel for the petitioner that offences, which are subject matter of two FIRs, have arisen out of a single conspiracy which commenced with tenure of the then Chairman, Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad and it continued even after he demitted the office and was replaced by the petitioner as the Chairman of the Bank. On this ground, it was urged that offences arising out of two FIRs form part of the same transaction and, as such second FIR is not competent. The argument, at first blush, appears to be attractive but when facts narrated in the two FIRs and the charge sheets arising out of the first FIR are scrutinized carefully, the argument does not stand the test of sameness and the consequence test which are necessary for quashing the subsequent FIR. In first FIR although the allegations regarding a general conspiracy of making illegal appointments in J&K Bank Ltd have been made but then it specifically focuses on illegal appointments of certain individuals, namely Iqbal Wani, Mehraj Magray, Feroz Ara, Waseem Bhat, Mushtaq Mir and Faizan Chowpan in J&K Bank Branch Dangiwacha and several such fraudulent appointments of various persons including the appointment of one Anjum and one more girl from Bandipora in Rohama Branch of J&K Bank Ltd. The investigating agency, while investigating FIR, has concentrated itself on modus operandi of appointment of aforenamed individuals and has not travelled to investigate the larger conspiracy.
Justice Sanjay Dhar further observed that as far as the impugned FIR is concerned, the same relates to the larger conspiracy of appointments of all Banking Attendants and Assistant Banking Associates that have been made during 2011 to 2019. As per preliminary verification, 1003 backdoor appointments have been made during the tenure of accused Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad whereas 1256 illegal appointments have been made during the tenure of the petitioner herein. It is not the case of the petitioner that all the illegal appointments have been made through a single order at one and the same time. As is clearly revealed from the material on record, these appointments have been made from time to time over a period of about eight years by issuing a number of appointment orders in violation of the set norms. Thus, it is a case of distinct incidents having occurred which do not form part of the same transaction though the modus operandi for these illegal appointments may have been similar. “Each appointment order alleged to have been made by the petitioner and the co-accused constitutes a separate offence and, as such, the instant case does not satisfy the test of sameness. Even the consequence test is not applicable to the instant case, inasmuch as it cannot be said that the second FIR pertains to an incident which may be a consequence of an incident covered by the first FIR. The incidents/occurrences mentioned in the two FIRs being distinct. Thus, I am unable to persuade myself to hold that the second FIR would form part of the same transaction,” the Court observed, adding that it is not a fit case where this Court should exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC and dismissed the petition.