Ashoo Sundernath Tiwari v. Deputy Commissioner of Police
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 575 OF 2020
The accused in this case was an employee of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) against whom an FIR was lodged alleging that he was involved in diversion of funds to co-accused. Relying on Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), he contended that he was victim of one Muthukumar's (co-accused) plot. The High Court had refused to discharge the accused from the case and thus he approached the Apex Court in appeal.
A number of judgments have held that the standard of proof in a departmental proceeding, being based on preponderance of probability is somewhat lower than the standard of proof in a criminal proceeding where the case has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The Court further stated that “From our point of view, if the High Court had bothered to apply this parameter, then on a reading of the CVC report on the same facts, the appellant should have been exonerated.”
The chances of conviction in a criminal trial involving the same facts appear to be bleak. The SC, therefore, set aside the judgment of the High Court and that of the Special Judge and discharged the appellant from the offences under the Penal Code.