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HC upholds conviction of former cashier-cum-clerk of Kamraz Rural Bank, reduces sentence to one year

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court today upheld conviction of a former cashier-cum-clerk of Kamraz Rural Bank (now J&K Grameen Bank) Baramulla for “misappropriating” Rs 21,000 during 2007-2008.

The prosecution story is that the appellant Abdul Khaliq Bhat, the cashier-cum-clerk while working in Kamraz Rural Bank Branch Authoora in Baramulla, received cash from about 16 account holders at the counter of the bank on various dates for depositing it in the bank.

He stamped and signed the counter-folios of the pay-in slips, made entry in the passbook of the account holder in token of receiving cash but dishonestly and fraudulently misappropriated the money by not depositing it in the bank and by not reflecting the credit entries in the concerned bank records, it said.

The cashier, now 70 years old, had been convicted by the Court of Special Judge Anti-Corruption (CBI), Srinagar, in September 2018 for commission of offences under Section under Section 420, 409 RPC and 5(2) read with 5(1) (c) &(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He was accordingly sentenced to simple imprisonment of two years for each offence and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Justice Rajnesh Oswal, who heard the matter said “the trial court has examined in detail the evidence led by the prosecution which has been appreciated by this court as well and this court too has come to the same conclusion as the one arrived at by the trial court, except in respect of conviction of the appellant for the commission of offence under section 420 RPC.”

The bench further said “the appellant (cashier) has not been able to satisfy this court that there has been any wrong appreciation of evidence by the learned trial court.”

It said that on the basis of the evidence led by the parties, the only conclusion that can be arrived at is that the cashier is guilty of commission of offences punishable Section 409 RPC and 5(2) read with 5(1) (c) & (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The bench held that it did not find any infirmity in the judgment of conviction recorded by the trial court except to the extent of conviction under section 420 RPC.

The court modified the sentence, reducing it from two years to one year imprisonment considering the age of the convict.

“Taking into consideration that the appellant is 70-years-old, the sentence awarded to him on each count is reduced from two years to one year on both counts,” the court said, adding, “the sentences shall run concurrently and the period for which the appellant has already remained in custody shall be set off against the period of imprisonment of one year.

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