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PC Act – Mere Recovery Of Tainted Money From Accused In Without Proof Of Demand Not Sufficient To Convict : Bombay High Court

[01 September 2021]

In a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act), mere recovery of tainted money from the accused in the absence of proof of demand is not sufficient to sustain the conviction, reiterated the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court has observed that in a criminal trial, an accused doesn’t have to prove his case with the same rigour with which the prosecution is required to prove theirs. Once the accused gives a reasonable and probable explanation, the prosecution must prove the explanation is false, it said. The observation was made by Justice Bharati Dangre in the backdrop of ‘permissible level of presumption of motive’ under Section 20 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Section 20 provides that where it is proved against an accused, booked under Section 7 of the Act, that he has accepted any gratification, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he accepted the gratification as a motive for doing or forbearing to do any official act. “Merely because of the existence of presumption under Section 20 of the PC Act, the burden does not shift on the accused…The prosecution has to stand on its own legs, and if it fails to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the entire edifice of the prosecution case would crumble down,” the court observed.

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