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₹100 Bribe Amount Is Too Small: Bombay HC After Acquitting Medical Officer

Mumbai: Bombay High Court, while acquitting a government medical officer in a corruption and bribery case, said an amount of ₹100 seems to be too small as a bribe in 2007 and more so now.

On Tuesday, Justice Jitendra Jain presided over a lone bench that supported the trial court’s decision to exonerate the medical officer, stating that the issue was appropriate to be handled as a petty matter.

Dr. Anil Shinde, the medical officer of a small hospital in the village of Paud in Maharashtra’s Pune district, was accused by a man named L. T. Pingale of asking for Rs. 100 to certify his injuries following an alleged attack by his nephew in 2007.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau investigated Pingale’s complaint and set up a trap, catching Shinde in the act. He was charged in accordance with the Prevention of Corruption Act’s guidelines.

A special court cleared Shinde of all charges in January 2012; the state appealed this decision to the HC.
However, the top court rejected the state’s appeal as having no merit.

In this instance, it is alleged that the defendant accepted a Rs 100 bribe in 2007. According to the bench’s ruling, the sum “appears to be too small” both in the year 2007 and much more so in the year 2023, when the appeal against the conviction is being heard.

Therefore, it said, after considering quantum at the pertinent time, this case could be suitable to be treated as a trivial matter to uphold the acquittal order, assuming that the appellant-complainant is able to prove the charges (although I have already held that they have failed to prove the charges).

The bench cited sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act that say no inference of corruption may be formed and that the court may decline to assume that the accused is corrupt if the claimed bribe of gratification is minor. The appeal by the state administration was denied by the top court.

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