SC refuses to quash criminal proceedings against advocate

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) The Supreme Court has refused to quash the criminal proceedings against an advocate, who fraudulently sold the property of a couple after obtaining their signature by allegedly misleading them.

A bench comprising Justices Altmas Kabir and Markandey Katju allowed the appeal of the complainant, Rukmini Narvekar, against the judgement of the Bombay High Court discharging the advocate, Ranjit Satardekar from Goa, but quashed the proceedings against the lawyer's wife Vijaya Satardekar.

According to the complainant, the couple are illiterate and in their complaint they alleged that Ranjit fraudulently and dishonestly induced the complainant and her late husband to place their signature and thumb impression on some papers in the office of the Executive Magistrate at Sawantwadi in Goa.

He falsely misrepresented that the signature was necessary to give him necessary authority to represent them in the court in Goa in inventory proceedings on the death of one Andre Andrade which were going on pertaining to the estate left by him.

The property was, however, fraudulently transferred on the basis of the power of attorney by the lawyer in the name of his wife and one Sadiq Sheikh in 1991.

The sale deed was presented for registration in 2001. It was at this time the complainant came to know of the fraud played on them by the accused.

The apex court said at the time of framing charges the court had the power though in rare cases to consider the evidence, produced by the defence, if it convincingly demonstrate the whole prosecution case was totally absurd or concocted.

The apex court also noted, ''The relation of a lawyer and his client is like a fiduciary relationship and the lawyer has to act in the interest of his client. It would not be proper to pre-empt the criminal proceedings at this stage. Serious allegations have been made against him in the FIR.'' UNI SC SW RP BD1748

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