Disciplinary Proceedings II

Muthukumar is said to be the kingpin involved in this crime and is absconding. Ashoo appears to be a victim of Muthukumar’s plot. The standard of proof in a departmental proceeding, being based on preponderance of probability, is somewhat lower than the standard of proof in a criminal proceeding where the case has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. In case of exoneration on merits, where the allegation is found to be not sustainable at all and the person is held innocent, criminal prosecution on the same set of facts and circumstances cannot be allowed to continue [Radheshyam Kejriwal v. State of West Bengal, (2011) 3 SCC 581]. On a reading of the Central Vigilance Commission Report, Ashoo should have been exonerated. In view of the detailed Central Vigilance Commission Report, the chances of conviction in a criminal trial involving the same facts appear to be bleak. Ashoo is discharged from the offences.

Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, Ashoo Surendranath Tewari v. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, EOW, CBI, [Criminal Appeal No. 575 of 2020].