Author : AKASH KRISHNAN
Citation: 1993 AIR 1637, 1993 SCR (3) 543
Bench: Ramaswamy, K.
Section 120 of the Indian Penal Code deals with Criminal Conspiracy. It can be defined as an illegal act committed by two or more persons in furtherance of an agreement to commit an offence or when an illegal act is committed by a person in pursuance of an agreement which is legal in nature.
Section 4 of the Indian Penal Code deals with extension of the Code to extra territorial offences. This provides that, if an offence is committed by an Indian in any other country other than India or any person commits an offence in a ship or aircraft which is registered in India or when any person anywhere across the world commits an offence by targeting a computer resource in India. In all such scenarios, the provisions of this code may be extended for the prosecution of the Individual.
This case deals with an NRI who commits the offence of criminal conspiracy against a bank in Chandigarh.
The appellant is an NRI, who resides in Dubai. He along with 4 other people entered into an agreement to conspire against and cheat a Bank at Chandigarh. The appellant approached the bank via Foreign letters of Credit for the purpose of obtaining Credit facility in the Bank. Thereafter he issued invoices through the organisation of the other accused to get the same. The Manager of the Bank was the head of the Foreign Exchange Department. He was also a part of the conspiracy and facilitated the issue of Credit facility to the Appellant.
A confirmation was sent for the same to the Bank at Dubai. Upon primary inquiry about the correctness of the Documents and after inspecting the vessel in question, the Bank of Dubai informed about the discrepancy in the documents to the Bank of Chandigarh. Even after receiving the information, the Bank issued over 4 Lakh USD as credit for the same. Later on, it was ascertained that the vessels and documents were false and was made with an attempt to cheat the banks. By the time, the Bank of Chandigarh was cheated for over 40 Lakh rupees. All the accused were thereafter charged with criminal conspiracy, dishonestly cheating, forgery of documents and using forged documents along with Section 4 of IPC.
The trial court dismissed the charges on the ground that since the conspiracy occurred in Dubai, previous sanction of the Central govt. is required to press charges and in the absence of the same, prosecution is not possible. The High Court dismissed the same in a revision petition and held that the conspiracy was done in Chandigarh. Hence this appeal lies to the same.
Whether the Court has Jurisdiction to try an offence which occurred in a foreign territory?
Criminal conspiracy is an offence wherein all the individuals are running under the same banner. Even if a person steps out of the banner but continues to perform acts in furtherance of the same, he is not said to be outside the banner. An offence cannot be said to have happened outside the country just because the he was an NRI and was not present at the place of offence.
If the act of forging, cheating or other acts in the conspiracy have been carried out in Chandigarh then the offence also falls withing the territory of India. Thus the courts have jurisdiction to try the same and are empowered to try the offence. Hence, the appeal was dismissed.