New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday rejected a retired government official’s plea to transfer to Bengaluru her trial for allegedly issuing a fake passport to gangster Chhota Rajan, saying a district court in the capital could also hear it.
Justice Mukta Gupta said once the offences are committed by a citizen of India within the country and outside, the court of the place where the offence was committed and the place where the accused was brought from abroad, both will have the territorial jurisdiction.
“When offences are allegedly committed by a citizen of India within the country and outside as well, both the courts i.e. where the offence was allegedly committed in India and also where the accused on being brought to India is found, would have territorial jurisdiction to try the offences so committed, if the offences can be tried together,” it said.
It noted in its verdict that offence of issuance of fake passport to Rajan was committed first in Bangalore in January 1999 and repeated again in 2003 at Harare in Zimbabwe when the passport was renewed by the High Commission there.
The offence was committed again when another passport, based on the renewed one, was issued by the Indian Consulate at Sydney, Australia, the high court said, adding as Rajan was brought to Delhi by CBI, the trial court here too has the jurisdiction.
“Though the special Judge at Bangalore has territorial jurisdiction to try the offences. However, the special Judge at Delhi also has territorial jurisdiction to try the offences allegedly committed by the petitioner (Lalitha Lakshmanan) and co-accused (Rajan),” the high court said.
It said that “no case was made out for transfer” of the trial from Delhi to Bangalore.
The trial court here had framed charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy under the IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Lakshmanan.
Similar charges have also been framed against two other public servants — Jayashree Dattatray Rahate and Deepak Natvarlal Shah — who have also been accused of helping Rajan procure a fake passport in the name of Mohan Kumar.
The trial court had framed charges also under the Passport Act against all the accused, including the gangster.
While Rajan is lodged in Tihar Jail here, the other three accused are out on bail.
Deported after being on the run for 27 years, the 55-year old gangster, who was once a close aide of fugitive terrorist and mob boss Dawood Ibrahim, was brought to India to face trial in over 70 cases of murder, extortion and drug smuggling in Delhi and Mumbai. Rajan was deported to India after his arrest in Bali in October 2015.