The Patna High Court granted bail to an advocate and his wife, who are accused of fraudulently extracting over ten lakh rupees from his clients (husband and wife) as consolation money following the death of their only kid.
The Advocate had reportedly engaged in money laundering, constituting a breach of trust as an advocate, and he wasn’t even willing to refund the money, according to Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad’s bench.
A brief summary of the situation
Appellant/Advocate filed a petition in the High Court challenging the order of Additional District & Sessions Judge – 1st, Buxar rejecting his bail application in connection with a case filed against him under sections 406, 420, 467, 468, 471, and 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3®(s) of the SC & ST Act.
The Advocate/accused was accused of abusing his position as an Advocate for the victims/claimants by writing two cheques and withdrawing Rs. 5,50,000/- and Rs. 52,000/- from Sri Lalan Pasi, his clients’ joint account.
His wife, accused number 2, also withdrew an amount of Rs. 4,50,000/- from the same account by cashing another Cheque. She was, however, given bail.
The Railway Claims Tribunal, Patna Branch, awarded this amount to Lalan Pasi and Sanjhariya Devi as compensation for the loss of their only son Gorakh Pasi under Sections 125 and 16 of the Railway Act.
The clients were represented before the Tribunal by the appellant/accused as an advocate.
Observations of the Court
After considering the gravity of the charges and the severity of the punishment in cases of misappropriation of funds and breach of trust, the Court asked the appellant’s lawyer if he would be willing to refund the total amount he had withdrawn from his clients’ joint account.
In response, he told the court that if he was released on bail, he would only return an amount of Rs. 5 lakhs.
Furthermore, the Court continually reminded his counsel that as an Advocate, the appellant must take a balanced position.