Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • In the case, Bhaskar Banerjee v Central Bureau of Investigation and ors, the Hon’ble Calcutta HC quashed criminal proceedings against a lawyer for allegedly furnishing false and improper legal advice regarding approval of a bank loan to a company that was then declared a Non-Performing Asset (NPA).
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  • The Court held that mere negligence or want of greater professional care and competence on the part of an advocate would not make him liable for a criminal offense in absence of tangible evidence.
  • A criminal revisional appeal was filed by an advocate who has been fastened with criminal liability under sections 420, 468, 471, 120B IPC for allegedly furnishing false and improper legal advice and prayed to quash proceedings pending before Learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Kolkata.
  • The case against the petitioner was that the bank asked him to conduct a search and verify the title in respect of the property covered by the Title Deeds. 
  • The petitioner allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with one of the directors, and submitted a Title Search Report on the basis of a report of his junior, advocate, and certified that the property was free from all hindrance and that Jitendra Nath Biswas had a clear and a marketable title over the property.
  • In course of the investigation, it was unearthed that Yar Ali Mondal, was the actual owner of the land and Jitendra Nath Biswas was not the owner. The petitioner and the other advocate entered into a criminal conspiracy with the persons who took loan accommodation and by facilitating the company in obtaining the loan committed fraud on the bank by false mortgage of property that did not exist in the name of the purported owner.
  • The grounds on which the petitioner sought for quashing of the proceeding were that continuation of the proceeding against the petitioner was a gross abuse of the process of court and against the principle of natural justice. 
  • It was urged that the complaint did not disclose any incriminating material against the petitioner. The charge sheet submitted against the petitioner was without foundation and the petitioner had been falsely implicated.
  • The Counsel for the petitioner place relied on Surendra Nath Pandey & Another Vs State of Bihar and another, wherein under a similar situation an allegation of conspiracy and cheating was brought against an accused advocate of the bank who furnished a false search report/ legal opinion with regard to property, facilitating sanction of loan.
  • In that case, the police submitted a charge sheet against the Advocate. The petitioner's advocate filed an application for quashing of the proceeding against him. The Hon'ble Supreme Court had observed that the allegations were bald and omnibus and did not make any specific reference to the role of the appellant in the alleged conspiracy.
  • The Hon’ble Calcutta HC set aside the criminal proceeding against the advocate as there was no tangible evidence to establish any connection between the petitioner and other co-accused persons with the motive of defrauding the bank in sanction of the loan amount. 
  • Even there was no iota of evidence in the charge sheet wherefrom it would indicate that the petitioner due to such act had made a wrongful gain from the other beneficiaries and committed criminal conspiracy.
  • Therefore, the Court quashed the criminal proceedings against the Petitioner Lawyer.
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