Petition for quashing of fIR filed by alleged kingpin of question paper leak in Police Constable Recruitment Exam, turned down by State HC

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet

Shimla, Aug 18

The High Court of Himachal Pradesh, today dismissed a petition for quashing FIR registered at Police Station CID, Bharari, District Shimla, in a matter pertaining to question paper leak in Police Constable Recruitment Exam.

The Bench Comprising of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Satyen Vaidya passed this order on a petition filed by Ranjeet Kumar, resident of District Nalanda, Bihar (presently in jail), kingpin in question paper leak in Police Constable Recruitment Exam, for quashing the FIR registered against him at Police Station CID , Bharari, being illegal and unlawful.

Brief facts of petition are that a case was registered at Police Station Gagal, District Kangra, on 05.05.2022 vide FIR No. 41 of 2022 (1st FIR), under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC alleging interalia that the question paper meant for written examination scheduled to be conducted during recruitment process for the posts of Constables and Drivers in Police Department of the State of Himachal Pradesh was leaked a day or two before the date of examination i.e. 27.3.2022. Many persons were suspected to be involved in the criminal conspiracy and commission of offence. During investigation of some arrests were made. The complicity of petitioner was also found and he was also arrested on 09.06.2022. Petitioner remained in custody in above said case till 31.07.2022 and released on bail on 01.08.2022.

During the course of investigation of 1st FIR certain facts were stated to have been discovered during the interrogation of the accused persons revealing intra district ramification of the scam. The Superintendent of Police, Kangra had apprehended the possibility of jurisdictional issues of trial courts and since CID Police Station Bharari exercised jurisdiction all over the State, it was requested to register the case keeping in view possible legal implications. Accordingly, on 07.05.2022 another FIR bearing No. 5 of 2022 (2nd FIR), under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC was registered at Police Station CID , Bharari, District Shimla.

After his release on bail in 1st FIR, petitioner was arrested in 2nd FIR on 02.08.2022. In the back drop of aforesaid facts, the petitioner approached High Court alleging violation of his constitutional and statutory rights.

The Court vide ordered the respondent to file reply. In response thereto, respondent submitted a status report on 10.8.2022 wherein it was stated that during investigation, it was found that petitioner was the kingpin who had managed the entire affair at Chandigarh and provided solved question paper on Whatsapp. In such circumstances, the arrest of petitioner was found necessary in 2nd FIR and was accordingly arrested on 2.08.2022.

The contention of the counsel for petitioner was that 2nd FIR is bad in law in as much as it is nothing but continuation of 1st FIR. The subject matter in both the FIRs is identical and overlapping, therefore, the arrest of petitioner in 2nd FIR is illegal. It was further contended that the petitioner has already remained in custody for more than 50 days in 1st FIR on the same very allegations and prayed for quashing of 2nd FIR.

However, the court dismissed the petition on the ground that question paper was leaked, a scam has been detected and involvement of various channels has been discovered. The cheating and fraud committed at separate places in respect of separate persons will constitute separate offences. The court held that the second FIR was permissible in the facts of instant case as the prima facie complicity of petitioner was found.

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