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N Devindrappa Vs State Of Karnataka On May 7, 2007

CASE NO.:
Appeal (crl.) 686 of 2007

PETITIONER:
N. Devindrappa

RESPONDENT:
State of Karnataka

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/05/2007

BENCH:
S.B. Sinha & Markandey Katju

JUDGMENT:
J U D G M E N T

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 686 2007
(Arising out of Crl. M.P. No. 4698/2007 in
Special Leave Petition (Crl). No. 672/2007)

Markandey Katju, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the
Karnataka High Court dated 10.04.2006 in Criminal Revision Petition No.
880 of 2003.

3. Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.

4. The High Court while upholding the conviction of the appellant under
Section 420 I.P.C modified the sentence and instead sentenced the appellant
to undergo simple imprisonment of six months and to pay a fine of
Rs.2,000/-, and in default to undergo a further period of two months simple
imprisonment.

5. The facts of the case are that the appellant is a retired Head Master of
a school. He took voluntary retirement from service under the guise of
doing social work. It is alleged that on 05.10.1995 and on 18.11.1995 the
appellant cheated the complainant by dishonestly inducing him to pay
Rs.2,000/- to the appellant in cash assuring the said complainant to allot him
a plot, though the said property was not even the property of the appellant.

6. The case of the appellant was that he had no intention to cheat the
complainant and the case is of civil nature. On the other hand, the case of
the prosecution was that the appellant accused was not the owner of the land
and he made the complainant to believe that he was the owner of the land
and for selling a plot of the land he received part of the sale consideration as
advance from the complainant though he subsequently did not allot him any
land despite repeated requests.

7. We have carefully perused the record as well as the judgments of the
courts below. At the outset, we would like to say that an act can result in
both civil and criminal liability. Hence, merely because the act of the
appellant has civil liability that does not mean that it cannot also have
criminal liability.

8. The finding of fact of both the courts below is that the appellant
dishonestly induced the complainant to deliver him Rs.2,000/- as advance in
cash as part payment alleged for sale of the plot of land in question, knowing
fully that he was not the owner of the said plot. It has been held that the
appellant deceived the complainant. It has also come in evidence that the
appellant had similarly deceived several other persons by saying that he
would allot plots to them and he took money in advance but did not give
them the plot. Thus, it appears that the appellant had cheated many persons
and not merely the complainant. For instance, PW9 Sri Sitaram Kalanji had
made similar allegations against the accused. The evidence of the
complainant is corroborated by Ex. P 2 and Ex. P 3 and these two documents
bear the signatures of the accused and the complainant and the handwriting
of the accused is testified by the handwriting expert. The issuance of the
bogus receipts P 2 and P 3 by the accused given to the complainant, in our
opinion, definitely amounts to cheating as also inducement of the
complainant that he would be provided a plot by the accused in six months
or a year. Since property includes money, hence the offence under Section
420 I.P.C. is made out. In our opinion, there was definitely dishonest
intention on the part of the appellant.

9. The complainant Ramchandrappa Bhrammeri, PW1, has deposed that
the accused gave an impression that he was distributing sites to the poor
persons as representative of Rajiv Gandhi Badavara Kshemabhiruddi Sangha
and on 5.10.1995 the accused came to his shop and assured him that he
would also get one house site in the land at the rate of Rs.3,000/- per gunta.
PW1 further deposed that believing the words of the accused he gave
Rs.2,000/- to him as part payment and the accused gave him receipt for
having received the amount under his signature. PW 1 further stated that the
accused assured him that he would get possession of the plot in question
within 6 to 8 months and one day took him to the village where the plot was
situated and showed him one land saying that a plot would be given to him
from the said land. However, the accused did not give him possession of the
plot and went on postponing the same by assuring him that he would be
given the plot and the accused always made him believe his words.

10. The courts below have considered the evidence in great detail and
recorded findings of fact based on the evidence on record and we see no
reason to disagree with the same.

11. There is no force in the appeal and it is accordingly dismissed.

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