No removal of criminal charges on doctors accused of leaking RGUHS PG medical exam: Karnataka HC
Bengaluru: In a strict decision, the Karnataka High Court has refused to quash a criminal case registered against two doctors, who were accused of allegedly conspiring and leaking questions papers of PG medical examinations to some students in the year 2011.
The accused doctors had moved the court seeking relief after a charge sheet was filed against them. The accused are charged under sections 417, 418, 420, 465, 468, 409, 109, 114, 161 of Indian Penal Code and sections 117, 118, 119, 120, 121 and 138 of Karnataka Education Act 1983 and under Section 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) r/w 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Every year Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) conducts entrance exam for Post Graduation studies in different disciplines of medical and dental sciences, which examination is held at different centres, one such centre in the year 2011 was designated to be that of Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS).
It was the case of the prosecution that accused No1, who was serving in the teaching line in VIMS had allegedly conspired with others to adopt malpractices to help certain candidates to get better results. On the date of examination, i.e. 30.01.2011 accused No.1 illegally opened the question paper in his custody, took photographs of the question paper using his digital camera, sent the digital camera through accused No.1 to accused No.17, accused No.27 who was allegedly a computer operator took a print out of the question paper from the digital camera by connecting it to the computer present in the residence of accused No.17.
On that basis, accused Nos.6 to 15 prepared answers to the questions, entered the said answers in the same computer and copy chits in the form of print outs were prepared in respect of the question paper. Accused No.7, in turn, handed the chits back to accused no. 1 who circulated them to selected students who copied the answers from the chits and managed to get high rank in the examination.
When the matter came into light, an FIR was registered on March 15, 2011, based on the complaint given by one Dr D Premkumar of RGUHS, Bengaluru. However, the after investigation police had filed a B-report.
Subsequently, the RGUHS annulled the results of the students, accused Nos.16 to 26. The annulment was challenged before the high court. The court in May 2011, directed a further in-depth investigation to be done by the Central Investigation Department. Accordingly, the CID filed its chargesheet against the accused in the matter.
The CID conducted a detailed investigation and submitted a charge sheet which was taken cognizance of. The statements of innumerable witnesses were recorded, various material objects and properties were also recovered, all of which had to be examined during the course of the trial.
Seeking nullification of the Chargesheet against them, accused 12 and 14 later filed a petition with the HC. During a hearing held recently on their plea, the Counsel appearing for the petitioners stated as regards the veracity of the Hard Disk which was seized containing the answers prepared by Accused Nos.6 to 15 on which basis the copy chits were prepared. According to him, in the absence of the said hard disk no case can be said to be made out as against the Petitioners.
It was submitted that Hard Disk and the file which formed the very basis of the prosecution case was not in existence at the time the crime was alleged to have been committed. The counsel contended that the entire story of the prosecution is manufactured; concocted and on that basis he would contend that the petitioners are being harassed, maliciously prosecuted and therefore, the proceedings against the petitioners are to be quashed.
In response, the advocate appearing on behalf of CID contended that it is not only the Hard Disk which the prosecution is relying upon, but there are various other statements of witnesses and a huge number of pieces of evidence collected by the CID which forms the basis for the prosecution of the accused. The offences which have been committed by the accused are very serious in nature. The accused have indulged themselves in malpractices obtained favourable admission in medical and dental colleges even though they may not have been so qualified. "This being an offence which affects the society as a whole has to be considered and at present merely on the ground that the Hard Disk is stated to be manufactured subsequently ought not to be a ground to quash the charge sheet, she, however, submits that even this ground is not available to the petitioners at the stage of consideration of petition under section 482 of the Cr.P.C., the same is to be established during the course of the trial," the counsel submitted before the court.
The advocates from both sides relied on several judgments passed by the court over the few years which were related to the matters of the present case.
Reaching its conclusion on the case, the bench of Honourable Justice Suraj Govindaraj found force in the submission made by advocate contending on behalf of the respondents, the state and Dr Premkumar that the arguments advanced and submissions made are required to be established during the course of the trial. The judge noted,
Whether the mirror image furnished was proper, whether the correct tools were used to create the mirror image? why are the dates of the files different? How is the MFT of the concerned file showing the date of creation to be much earlier than the date of the offence? are not matters which could be decided upon by this court in a summary manner in 482 proceedings. All the submissions made on behalf of the petitioners are required to be established during the course of trial. The matter being technical in nature, the concerned experts would have to be examined and cross-examined. At this stage, it cannot on the basis of the submissions made be said that no offences have been committed by the petitioners.
The HC concluded that it is not a fit and proper case to exercise powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C to quash the above proceedings initiated against the petitioners.
The bench then directed the trial court to expeditiously dispose of the matter.
.Attached below is the judgment in detail: