CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1969-1970 OF 2010
Prasad Shrikant Purohit                        ...Appellant
State of Maharashtra & Anr.             ...Respondent
Criminal Appeal No.1971 of 2010
Criminal Appeal Nos.1994-98 of 2010
Criminal Appeal No.58 of 2011
Criminal Appeal No. 636 of 2015 @ SLP (Crl.) No.8132 of 2010
Criminal Appeal Nos. 639-40 of 2015 @ SLP (Crl.) Nos.9370-71 of 2011
SLP (Crl.) 9303 of 2011
SLP (Crl.) No.9369 of 2011
                               J U D G M E N T
Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.
Leave granted in SLP (Crl.) No.8132 of 2010 and SLP  (Crl.)  Nos.9370-71  of
As in all the above appeals the issue that arises for consideration is  the
applicability of the  Maharashtra  Control  of  Organized  Crime  Act,  1999
(hereinafter called "MCOCA"), all these appeals  are  disposed  of  by  this
common judgment.
Criminal Appeal Nos.1969-70/2010 have been  preferred  by  Lt.  Col.  Prasad
Shrikant Purohit challenging the judgment in Criminal Appeal No.867 of  2009
which was disposed of by the common order passed by the  Division  Bench  of
the Bombay High Court in Criminal Appeal Nos.866, 867, 868, 869 and 1024  of
2009 dated 19.07.2010. By the said order the  Division  Bench  reversed  the
order of the Special Judge dated 31.7.2009 passed in Special  Case  No.1  of
2009 wherein he held that the charges against the accused  in  C.R.No.18  of
2008 registered with Anti-Terrorist Squad, Mumbai (hereinafter  referred  to
as "ATS") under the MCOCA do not survive and were discharged from the  case.
 The Special Court by invoking Section 11 of the MCOCA directed the case  to
be tried by the  regular  Court.  The  Division  Bench  while  allowing  the
Criminal Appeal Nos.866 to 869 of 2009 set aside the order  of  the  Special
Judge 31.07.2009 in Special Case No.1 of 2009 as well as  orders  passed  in
Bail Application Nos.40 to 42 of 2008, restored those  applications  to  the
file in MCOCA Special Case No. 01 of 2009 for being  decided  on  merits  by
Special Judge himself. In Criminal Appeal No.1024  of  2009  while  allowing
the said appeal, Bail Application No.41 of 2008 was directed to be  restored
in MCOCA Special Case No. 01 of 2009 for being heard and decided on  merits.
The appellant-Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit is the  first  respondent  in
Criminal Appeal No.867 of 2009.
The appeals arising  out  of  SLP  (Crl.)  No.9370-71/2011  have  also  been
preferred by the very same  appellant,  namely,  Lt.  Col.  Prasad  Shrikant
Purohit challenging the common order passed  in  Criminal  Bail  Application
No.333 of 2011 with Criminal Application No.464 of 2011 along with  Criminal
Application No.556 of 2011 dated 9th November 2011  by  the  learned  Single
Judge of the Bombay High Court. By the said order the learned Judge  allowed
the Criminal Application No.556 of 2011 filed by Ajay  Ekanath  Rahirkar  by
granting him bail by imposing certain conditions. In the case  of  appellant
herein, the challenge made in Criminal Application No.464 of  2011  was  the
order of the Special Judge after the order of remand passed by the  Division
Bench dated 19.07.2010. The Special Judge  by  the  order  dated  30.12.2010
rejected the appellant's application for  bail.  The  learned  Single  Judge
after detailed discussion, dismissed the Criminal  Bail  Application  No.333
of 2011 as well  as  Criminal  Application  No.464  of  2011  by  the  order
impugned in these appeals.
The appeal arising out of SLP(Crl.)  No.8132/2010  has  been  filed  by  one
Pragyasinh  Chandrapalsinh  Thakur  challenging  the  common   order   dated
19.07.2010 passed by  the  Division  Bench  of  the  Bombay  High  Court  in
Criminal Appeal No.866 of 2009  which  is  identical  to  the  case  of  the
appellant in Criminal Appeal Nos.1969-70 of 2010.
Criminal Appeal No.1971 of 2010 is preferred by one Rakesh Dattaray  Dhawade
challenging the order dated 19.07.2010 passed by the Division Bench  of  the
Bombay High Court in Criminal Appeal No.868 of 2009.
The appeal arising out of  SLP  (Crl.)  No.9303/2011  is  preferred  by  one
Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi and  Ramesh  Shivji  Upadhyay  challenging  the  order
dated 20.10.2011 of the learned Single Judge of the Bombay  High  Court.  By
the said judgment, the learned Single Judge declined to interfere  with  the
order of Special Judge in Misc.  Application  No.98/2011  permitting  police
custody to the  first  respondent,  namely,  National  Investigation  Agency
(NIA) for 8 days from 22.07.2011 up to 30.07.2011. In fact,  the  said  case
was originally investigated  by  ATS  and  final  report  was  submitted  on
30.01.2009 and supplementary charge-sheet vide MCOCA No.8/2011 was filed  on
21.4.2011. Thereafter by order  dated  1.4.2011  of  the  Ministry  of  Home
Affairs, Government of India, investigation was transferred to  NIA  and  an
FIR was registered as Crime No.5/2011 by police station  NIA  on  13.4.2011.
Thereafter NIA sought for police custody which was granted by  order  passed
in Misc. Application No.98/2011  dated  19.07.2011.  The  said  SLP  is  not
argued before us and, therefore, the same is delinked  from  this  batch  of
cases and the same shall be heard separately.
We heard arguments of Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior  counsel  who  appeared
before us for the appellants in Criminal Appeal Nos.1969-70/2010 as well  as
Criminal Appeal Nos.1994-98/2010, Mr. Triloki Nath Razdan,  learned  counsel
for the appellant in appeal arising out  of  SLP  (Crl.)  No.9303/2011,  Mr.
Basava Prabhu S. Patil, learned senior counsel in the appeal arising out  of
SLP (Crl.) No.8132/2010 and Mr. Vikas Mehta,  learned  counsel  in  Criminal
Appeal No.1971 of 2010.
Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel in his submissions  referred  to  the
brief facts which led to the  initiation  of  the  proceedings  against  the
appellants under the provisions of MCOCA. As the narration goes,  there  was
a bomb blast at the place called  Malegaon  in  Mumbai  on  29.9.2008.  With
reference to the said occurrence, FIR  No.130/2008  was  registered  in  the
Azad Nagar police station in Malegaon on 30.9.2008. On 26.10.2008, the  said
FIR  was  transferred  and  registered  as  C.R.   No.   18/2008   and   the
investigation was taken over by ATS. Thereafter the  appellant  in  Criminal
Appeal No. 1971/2010, namely, one Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade  was  arrested  by
ATS on 02.11.2008. Subsequent to his arrest, the appellant  in  Crl.  Appeal
Nos. 1969-1970/2010 was arrested on 05.11.2008. On 20.11.2008, approval  was
given as per Section 23(1) (a)  of  MCOCA  by  DIG,  ATS  for  recording  of
information about  the  commission  of  an  offence  and  for  applying  the
provisions of Section  3(1)(i),3(2)  and  3(4)  of  MCOCA  against  all  the
accused in C.R. No. 18/2008.
Be that as it may, earlier on 21.11.2003, there  was  a  bomb  explosion  at
Mohmedia Masjid, Nanalpeth, Parbhani which was registered as C.R. No.161  of
2003/Parbhani. There was another bomb explosion  at  Kaderia  Masjid,  Jalna
during Friday Namaz which was registered as C.R.No. 194 of 2004/Jalna.
In  the  case  pertaining  to  Parbhani,  the  charge-sheet  was  filed   on
07.09.2006 against A1-Sanjay Choudhary for  the  offences  punishable  under
Sections 302, 307, 324, 337, 338, 285, 286 and 295 read  with  34,  IPC  and
Sections 3, 4, 6 of the Explosives Act and Section 25(1)  and  (3)  of   the
Arms Act. The case  was  registered  as  RCC  No.467/2006.  A  supplementary
chargesheet-I was filed in Parbhani case against four accused for the  above
referred to offences as well as Sections 120-B & 153-A read with 34  of  IPC
on 29.9.2006.
In  Jalna  case,  charge-sheet  was  filed  against  A-1  for  the  offences
punishable under Sections 307, 436, 324, 323, 120-B, 153-A read with  34  of
IPC and Sections 3, 4, 6 of Explosives Act on 30.9.2006. In Jalna case,  two
supplementary charge-sheets were filed on 7.1.2008 against  four  additional
accused and against five accused on 14.1.2008. On 13.11.2008,  supplementary
charge-sheet-2 was filed against the appellant in  Crl.  Appeal  No.1971  of
2010-Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade in Parbhani Case and  a  supplementary  charge-
sheet-3 was filed against him in Jalna Case on  15.11.2008.  Thereafter,  on
20.11.2008, charge-sheet in Malegaon Blast Case was  filed  by  ATS  against
the appellants  herein  under  the  MCOCA.  On  15.01.2009,  sanction  under
Section 23(2) of MCOCA was also granted.
In the above stated background, Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel  made
as many as five submissions to contend  that  MCOCA  was  not  attracted  as
against the appellants and, therefore, the orders impugned are liable to  be
set aside.
Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel prefaced his submissions  by  stating
that appellants were all proceeded against based on the  footing  that  they
were  members  of  an  organization  called  "Abhinav  Bharat"   which   was
registered in 2007 and  that  they  were  now  being  prosecuted  under  the
provisions of MCOCA. The learned senior counsel submitted that in  order  to
prosecute the appellants under the  MCOCA,  the  definition  of  "continuing
unlawful activity", "organized crime" and  "organized  crime  syndicate"  as
defined under Section 2(1)(d),(e) and (f) of MCOCA should be satisfied.  The
learned senior counsel while referring to the  above  definitions  submitted
that the prosecuting agency were relying upon the Parbhani  case  and  Jalna
case which occurred in 2003 and 2004 and which were  organized  by  RSS  and
Bajrang Dal with which neither Abhinav Bharat nor  the  appellants  were  in
anyway connected and, therefore,  the  definition  of  "continuing  unlawful
activity" or "organized crime" as well as "organized  crime  syndicate"  was
not fully established.
The next submission of Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel  was  that  in
order to attract  Section  2(1)(d)  for  an  offence  to  be  a  'continuing
unlawful activity' within a period of preceding ten years from the  date  of
the third occurrence, two prior cases falling under the said Section  should
have been filed and taken cognizance of and that the date with reference  to
which the preceding ten years  is  to  be  counted  is  the  date  of  third
occurrence. The  learned  senior  counsel,  therefore,  submitted  that  the
Malegaon bomb blast occurred on 29.09.2008, the arrest  of  Rakesh  Dattaray
Dhawade was on 02.11.2008, supplementary charge-sheet against him was  filed
in Parbhani case on 13.11.2008 and  in  Jalna  case  on  15.11.2008  and  in
Parbhani, the case was committed to Sessions Court only  on  29.4.2009  i.e.
not within the preceding  10  years  of  the  occurrence  in  Malegaon  and,
therefore, the definition of Section 2(1) (d) was not satisfied.  Even  with
reference to Jalna, the learned senior counsel submitted  that  the  Express
Order of cognizance was taken only on 28.11.2008 i.e. after  the  occurrence
in Malegaon, namely, 29.09.2008. Therefore,  the  requirement  of  preceding
ten years in order to bring the earlier  two  occurrences  in  Parbhani  and
Jalna within the definition of 2(1)(d)  as  continuing  unlawful  activities
was not made out. The learned senior counsel in this context submitted  that
the conclusion  of  the  Division  Bench  that  cognizance  is  always  with
reference to the offence and not the offender,  is  not  the  correct  legal
position.  The  learned  senior  counsel   after   referring   to   Sections
173(2)(i)(a), 190(1)(b) and 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  (Cr.P.C.)
submitted that a  close  reading  of  the  above  Sections  shows  that  the
cognizance will be with reference to the offender and not the  offence.  The
learned senior counsel, therefore, submitted that in the case of  Jalna  the
Express Order of cognizance was taken on 28.11.2008 after the  supplementary
charge-sheet dated 15.11.2008 against Rakesh  Dattaray  Dhawade,  which  was
long after the date of occurrence  of  Malegaon,  namely,  29.09.2008,  and,
therefore, the requirement of two earlier cases as stipulated under  Section
2(1)(d) was not satisfied.  The  learned  senior  counsel  relied  upon  the
decisions in Ajit Kumar Palit v. State of West Bengal - AIR 1963 SC 765  and
Dilawar Singh v. Parvinder Singh @ Iqbal Singh & Anr. - 2005  (12)  SCC  709
in support of his submissions.
Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel then  contended  that  the  event  of
cognizance being taken as defined under Section 2(1) (d) can  only  be  with
reference to 'competent court' and in the case of Parbhani and Jalna as  the
offences were under Sections 302,  307/308  etc.,  Sessions  Court  was  the
competent court and not the Chief Judicial Magistrate.  The  learned  senior
counsel pointed out that in the case of Parbhani, the  committal  order  was
passed only on 29.04.2009 i.e. long  after  the  Malegaon  case  occurrence,
namely, 29.09.2008. Therefore, the requirement of two  earlier  cases  which
were taken cognizance of by the competent court cannot be held to have  been
satisfied. In support of the said submission, learned senior counsel  relied
upon Fakhruddin Ahmad v. State of Uttaranchal and Anr. - (2008) 17 SCC 157.
The learned senior counsel then contended  that  in  order  to  attract  the
provisions of MCOCA, in all the three cases, the same gang  must  have  been
involved. Elaborating his submission, the learned senior  counsel  contended
that Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade who has been added as A-7 in Malegaon case  was
arrested on 02.11.2008 and his arrest was shown in Parbhani and in Jalna  on
13.11.2008 and 15.11.2008 as directed by the Additional Police  Commissioner
of ATS and even going by the statement of A-7, he  procured  some  materials
and gave them to one principal accused in Parbhani and Jalna, namely,  Devle
and going by the said statement, there is no scope  to  link  the  appellant
with the cases which related to  Parbhani  and  Jalna  and,  therefore,  the
requirement of involvement of the same gang in all the three cases  was  not
satisfied. The learned senior counsel  submitted  that  in  any  event,  the
appellants were not concerned with Parbhani and Jalna, that  they  were  not
even aware of A-7's involvement in those two occurrences, as they  were  not
members of those gangs which  were  involved  in  Parbhani  and  Jalna  and,
therefore, the invocation of MCOCA was not  made  out.  The  learned  senior
counsel further contended that it was all  the  more  reason  to  hold  that
cognizance should be with reference to the  offender  and  not  the  offence
which has to be mandatorily satisfied.
The learned senior counsel lastly submitted that going by the definition  of
'organized crime' under Section 2(1) (e), there must have been  a  pecuniary
gain accompanied by the act of violence, that the appellant  had  not  taken
any money from anybody and when such pecuniary advantage  should  have  been
present in all the three cases, it cannot be held that the case against  the
appellant would come under the definition of  'organized  crime'.  According
to learned senior counsel, in the case of Parbhani and Jalna, only  violence
was the basis and promoting insurgency was not even the case of  prosecution
which may have a semblance of application in  Malegaon  case  and  certainly
not in Parbhani and Jalna. The learned senior counsel, therefore,  contended
that  the  application  of  MCOCA  as  against  the  appellants  was  wholly
inappropriate and consequently, the order of  the  Division  Bench  and  the
subsequent order of the Special Court in declining to grant bail was  liable
to be set aside. The learned senior counsel submitted  that  the  appellants
made out a case to show that there were  reasonable  grounds  for  believing
that he was not guilty of such offence under MCOCA  and  as  provided  under
Section 21(4)(b) of MCOCA and should have been  granted  bail.  The  learned
senior counsel further submitted  that  the  appellant  in  Criminal  Appeal
Nos.1969-70 of 2010 as well as in SLP (Crl.) Nos.9370-71 of  2011  has  been
in jail for more than six years and he is entitled for grant of bail.
Mr. Triloki Nath Razdan, learned counsel appearing  for  the  appellants  in
the appeal arising  out  of  SLP  (Crl.)  No.9303/2011  while  adopting  the
arguments of Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel  for  the  appellant  in
Crl.A.No.1969-70/2010 contended that the Objects and Reasons of MCOCA  shows
that the very purport of the enactment  was  to  curb  the  accumulation  of
illegal  wealth,  that  in  order  to  attract  the  provisions  of   MCOCA,
involvement in organized crime by an organized crime syndicate  in  all  the
three cases must be satisfied.  By referring to  the  sanction  order  dated
15.01.2009, learned  counsel  submitted  that  when  the  arrest  of  Rakesh
Dattaray Dhawade was in the month of  November,  2008,  the  requirement  of
Section 2(1) (d) relating to  two  previous  cases  of  continuing  unlawful
activity was not satisfied.  In other words, according to  learned  counsel,
as the  requirement  of  continuing  unlawful  activity  in  respect  of  an
organized crime by the organized crime syndicate was not  shown,  MCOCA  was
not attracted. The learned counsel relied upon in Central Bank of  India  v.
State of Kerala and others - (2009) 4 SCC 94 and  Ranjitsing  Brahamjeetsing
Sharma v. State of Maharashtra & Anr. - (2005) 5 SCC 294.
Mr. Patil, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant in SLP  (Crl.)
No.8132/2010 referred to the impugned judgment of  the  Division  Bench,  in
particular, paragraph 18 and submitted that the  question  which  was  posed
for consideration by the  Division  Bench  was  limited  to  the  extent  of
examining the issue of taking  cognizance  of  the  offences  by  the  Chief
Judicial Magistrate at Parbhani and its counterpart at Jalna.   Sofaras  the
appellant in the  present  appeal  was  concerned,  learned  senior  counsel
submitted that she became a  Sanyasin  after  performing  appropriate  Hindu
religious rites and prayers on 30.01.2007,  that  she  was  residing  in  an
ashram at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and that she owned  a  two  wheeler  LML-
Freedom which she sold out to one Sunil Joshi of Madhya Pradesh way back  in
October, 2004 for a sale consideration of Rs.24,000/- and  she  also  signed
the necessary transfer application Forms in October, 2004  itself  and  that
thereafter she had no control over the said  vehicle.   The  learned  senior
counsel submitted that inspite  of  her  disclosing  the  above  facts,  the
officials of ATS applied third degree methods upon  her  and  insisted  that
the said vehicle was involved in Malegaon blast occurrence  and,  therefore,
she was also involved in the said occurrence.  The  learned  senior  counsel
submitted that she  was  implicated  in  the  Malegaon  case  while  she  is
innocent simply because the vehicle  bearing  registration  No.MH-15-P-4572,
which she owned, was stated to have been involved in the Malegaon blast.
The learned senior counsel then submitted that if the  Objects  and  Reasons
is read for interpreting Section 3, a strict application of the  Act  should
be made, in which event, in order to invoke the provisions of MCOCA  Section
2(1)(d), (e) and  (f)  should  be  satisfied.  It  was  contended  that  for
implicating a person it is to be mandatorily shown that he was  involved  in
a 'continuing unlawful activity' as  a  member  of  crime  syndicate  or  on
behalf of it on two earlier occasions, that the appellant was  not  involved
in either the Parbhani case or in Jalna case and, therefore, the  invocation
of MCOCA against the appellant was  not  maintainable.  The  learned  senior
counsel also submitted  that  having  regard  to  the  relevant  dates  with
reference to the committal order  in  Jalna  case,  namely,  11.8.2008,  the
subsequent charge-sheet against A-7 on 15.11.2008 on  which  date  the  case
was registered afresh as RCC No.648/2008 and on  28.11.2008  when  committal
order was passed, the sanction order  in  Malegaon  case  being  20.11.2008,
there was no scope to hold that there were two earlier cases falling  within
the definition of continuing unlawful  activity  as  defined  under  Section
2(1)(d) of the Act. The learned senior counsel,  therefore,  contended  that
the order of the trial Court dated 31.07.2009 discharging  all  the  accused
was justified and the Division Bench ought not to have interfered  with  the
said order.
The learned senior counsel also submitted that  the  Division  Bench  having
noted that the offence under Section 153A, IPC was not  laid  after  getting
prior sanction as required under Section 196 Cr.P.C.  even  as  against  A-7
Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade, there was no valid cognizance taken  by  the  trial
Court in respect of the earlier cases of Parbhani  and  Jalna.  The  learned
Senior Counsel, therefore, contended that in the absence of the  'continuing
unlawful activity' as defined under Section 2(1)(d) of an 'organized  crime'
by  'organized  crime  syndicate'  shown,  application  of  MCOCA  was   not
justified. As far as the preceding 10  years  as  prescribed  under  Section
2(1)(d) is concerned, learned senior counsel submitted that Section  2(1)(d)
specifically refers to 'activity'  for calculating the  preceding  10  years
and, therefore, 29.09.2008 would be the  relevant  date  and  calculated  on
that basis the claim of the prosecution that there were  two  earlier  cases
as stipulated under Section 2 (1)(d) was not satisfied. In support  of  this
submission, learned senior counsel relied upon the decisions of  this  Court
reported as Mahipal Singh v. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr.  -  2014
(11) SCC 282, State of Maharashtra & Ors. v. Lalit Somdatta Nagpal & Anr.  -
(2007) 4 SCC 171, State of Maharashtra v. Bharat Shanti Lal Shah and Ors.  -
2008 (13) SCC 5 and Tolaram Relumal & Anr. v. The  State  of  Bombay  -  AIR
1954 SC 496.
Mr. Vikas Mehta, learned counsel appearing for  the  appellant  in  Criminal
Appeal No.1971/2010, namely, Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade after making  reference
to the judgment in  Mahipal  Singh  (supra)  contended  that  prior  to  the
registration of FIR No.130 of 2008  on  30.09.2008  in  the  Malegaon  blast
case, the appellant was not involved in any 'continuing unlawful  activity'.
 According to him, if a  strict  interpretation  is  to  be  placed  on  the
definition of 'continuing unlawful activity' as stated in the said  decision
of this Court, the appellant having been not involved in the  commission  of
any offence prior to  registration  of  FIR  No.130/2008  either  singly  or
jointly as a member of an 'organized crime syndicate,  invocation  of  MCOCA
was not justified. The learned counsel  then  contended  that  in  order  to
invoke MCOCA all the three definitions of Section 2 (1)  (d),  (e)  and  (f)
should be satisfied in which event it should be by the same gang in all  the
three  cases.   The  learned  counsel  then  contended  that  since   strict
interpretation is to be made as directed by this Court while  upholding  the
validity of the Act, it  should  be  construed  only  in  that  manner.  The
learned counsel by relying upon the decisions in  Ranjitsing  Brahamjeetsing
Sharma (supra), Lalit Somdatta Nagpal  (supra)  and  Mahipal  Singh  (supra)
contended that the  requirement  of  satisfaction  of  'continuing  unlawful
activity' of an 'organized crime' by an 'organized crime syndicate'  insofar
as it related to the appellant was not made out and the application  of  the
MCOCA was not justified.  Mr. S.S. Shamshery, learned counsel appearing  for
the appellant in Criminal Appeal No.58/2011 submitted that  he  is  adopting
the arguments of Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior  counsel  for  appellant  in
Criminal Appeal No.1969-70 of 2010 and the judgment of  the  Division  Bench
is liable to be set aside.
As against the above submissions made on behalf of the appellants, Mr.  Anil
Singh, learned ASG for the respondent  State  submitted  that  the  Division
Bench after  formulating  the  question  in  paragraph  18  ascertained  the
relevant dates when cognizance was taken in Parbhani case and in Jalna  case
by the Committal Court and in both the cases cognizance was taken  as  early
as on 07.09.2006 in Parbhani and on 30.9.2006 in Jalna which were borne  out
by records and, therefore, the  Division  Bench  was  justified  in  setting
aside the order of the Special Court.  In support  of  his  submission  that
taking a fresh cognizance is not a  requirement  of  law  in  a  case  where
cognizance is already taken in respect of the  same  offence,  reliance  was
placed upon R.R. Chari v.  State  of  Uttar  Pradesh  -  AIR  1951  SC  207,
Raghubans Dubey v. State of Bihar - AIR 1967  SC  1167,  Darshan  Singh  Ram
Kishan v. State of Maharashtra - AIR 1971 SC 2372, State of West  Bengal  v.
Salap Service Station & Ors.  -  1994  (3)  Suppl.  SCC  318,  CREF  Finance
Limited v. Shree Shanthi Homes (P) Ltd. and another  -  2005  (7)  SCC  467,
State of Karnataka v. Pastor P. Raju - 2006 (6) SCC 728, S.K.  Sinha,  Chief
Enforcement Officer v. Videocon International Ltd. & Ors.  -  (2008)  2  SCC
492, Fakhruddin Ahmad (supra)  and  Sarah  Mathew  v.  Institute  of  Cardio
Vascular Diseases By its Director Dr. K.M. Cherian & Ors.- (2014) 2 SCC 62.
According to learned  ASG,  in  respect  of  an  offence  under  MCOCA,  for
invoking its provisions, cognizance of the offence taken as  provided  under
Section 190 Cr.P.C. was sufficient.  The learned ASG then submitted that  in
order to  ascertain  a  'continuing  unlawful  activity'  as  defined  under
Section 2 (1) (d) of the MCOCA what is required is  commission  of  such  an
offence as a member of either 'organized crime syndicate' or  on  behalf  of
'organized crime syndicate' would mean any 'organized crime  syndicate'  and
not the  same  'organized  crime  syndicate'.   As  far  as  the  contention
relating to two earlier cases in the preceding 10  years,  the  learned  ASG
submitted that in the Malegaon case, the occurrence was  on  29.09.2008  and
in the preceding 10 years i.e. on 07.09.2006 cognizance  was  taken  in  the
Parbhani case and in Jalna case cognizance  was  taken  on  30.09.2006  and,
therefore, the  same  was  sufficient  to  hold  that  the  appellants  were
involved in a 'continuing  unlawful  activity'  and  thereby  satisfied  the
requirement of 2 (1) (d) (e) and (f) of MCOCA. The  learned  ASG  sought  to
distinguish the case in Mahipal Singh (supra). The learned  ASG  by  relying
upon Zameer Ahmed Latifur Rehman Sheikh v. State of  Maharashtra  &  Ors.  -
2010 (5) SCC 246 submitted that insurgency is a grave disturbance of  public
order and, therefore, the question of pecuniary  advantage  was  not  needed
where  promotion  of  insurgency  formed  the  basis  for  prosecuting   the
appellants under MCOCA. On 'other advantage', learned ASG relied upon  State
of Maharashtra v. Jagan Gagansingh Nepali @ Jagya -2011 (5) Mh.L.J. 386.
Mr. Mariaarputham,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the  State  of
Maharashtra and NIA after referring to the accusations against  the  accused
submitted that going by the allegations and  the  gravity  of  the  offence,
they are not entitled for bail. The learned senior  counsel  also  submitted
that apart from offences under the MCOCA, the appellants are also  proceeded
under  the  Unlawful  Activities  (Prevention)  Act,  1967,  in  particular,
offences under Sections 13, 15, 16,  17,  18,  18B,  20,  23  etc.  and  the
maximum penalty for offences under Sections 15 to 23 is  the  death  penalty
and that under Section 43D(5) for grant of bail,  severe  restrictions  have
been imposed and, therefore, both because  the  question  raised  about  the
implications of MCOCA, as well as, having regard to the offences  for  which
the appellants are proceeded against, they are not  entitled  for  grant  of
bail.   The  learned  senior  counsel  then  contended  that  in  order   to
constitute an offence as an 'organized crime'  under  Section  2  (1)(e)  of
MCOCA, it is not necessary  that  for  the  commission  of  such  aggressive
offences,  there  should  be  allegation  of   pecuniary   advantage   also.
According to learned senior counsel, insofar as, promotion of insurgency  is
concerned, even without any allegation of pecuniary gain, the  said  act  by
itself would constitute an 'organized crime'. The  learned  senior  counsel,
therefore,  contended  that  even  in  the  absence  of  any  allegation  of
pecuniary gain, the  offence  alleged  would  fall  under  the  category  of
'organized crime'. The learned senior counsel further contended that in  any
event there were materials to show that the  appellant  in  Criminal  Appeal
1969-70/2010 as well as the appellant in Criminal  Appeal  No.1971/2010  had
pecuniary  advantage.  The  learned  senior  counsel  then  contended   that
cognizance of the offence was taken by the Magistrate based on  the  charge-
sheet and when once there was application of judicial mind with  a  view  to
proceed with the  matter,  the  requirement  of  cognizance  was  fulfilled.
Insofar as the offences pertaining to Parbhani  and  Jalna  were  concerned,
the learned senior counsel contended that they were all  IPC  offences  and,
therefore, taking cognizance of those offences need not  be  tested  on  the
anvil of the  provisions  of  MCOCA.   The  learned  senior  counsel  placed
reliance upon the decisions in Gopal Marwari & Ors.  v.  Emperor  -AIR  1943
Patna 245 which was affirmed by this Court in R.R. Chari (supra).   He  also
placed reliance upon Darshan Singh Ram Kishan (supra), State of West  Bengal
& Anr. v. Mohd. Khalid & Ors.-  (1995)  1  SCC  684,  CREF  Finance  Limited
(supra), Pastor P. Raju (supra), Mona Panwar v. High Court of Judicature  at
Allahabad Through its Registrar & Ors. - (2011) 3 SCC 496 and  Sarah  Mathew
On the submission  relating  to  competent  Court,  learned  senior  counsel
submitted that in Parbhani and Jalna reference needs  to  be  made  only  to
Sections 190, 200, 201, 202 read with  Section  4  Cr.P.C.  and  when  on  a
complaint filed by the prosecution, the CJM  having  taken  cognizance,  the
same was sufficient for the fulfillment of requirement  of  the  'continuing
unlawful activity' as  defined  under  Section  2  (1)  (d)  of  the  MCOCA.
According to learned senior counsel, for the purpose  of  taking  cognizance
under the above provisions, the presence of the accused was  not  necessary.
As far as the relevant  date  is  concerned,  according  to  learned  senior
counsel,  even  if  the  date  of  occurrence  of  Malegaon  blast,  namely,
29.9.2008 is taken as the relevant date, the committal  Court  having  taken
cognizance by receipt of the charge-sheet dated  07.09.2006  in  respect  of
Parbhani and on 30.09.2006 in the case of Jalna and the committal order  was
on 12.02.2007 in Jalna, the  cognizance  was  well  before  29.09.2008  and,
therefore, there was  nothing  lacking  for  the  purpose  of  invoking  the
provisions of MCOCA. The learned senior counsel further  contended  that  as
long as all the three incidents were committed by a  group  of  persons  and
one common individual was involved in all the three  incidents,  that  would
attract invocation of MCOCA.
Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned ASG also appearing for NIA submitted that  in  the
event of granting bail, having regard to the nature of  offence  alleged  to
have been indulged  in  by  the  appellants,  severe  conditions  should  be
imposed and that the agency is  entitled  for  custodial  interrogation  and
also the presence of the accused at the time of trial should be ensured.
By way of reply Mr. U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel  submitted  that  the
prosecution has not shown involvement of 'Abhinav Bharat'  in  the  Parbhani
case or Jalna case in which event if 'Abhinav Bharat'  is  to  be  excluded,
the linking of the appellants by making reference  to  Abhinav  Bharat  will
also entitle them to contend that MCOCA  cannot  be  invoked.   The  learned
senior counsel submitted that since MCOCA has been invoked for  the  purpose
of ascertaining the cognizance of the offence, reference to Section  2(1)(d)
would alone be made and not under Section 190  Cr.P.C.  The  learned  senior
counsel further contended that cognizance by  the  competent  Court  in  the
facts and the nature of offence alleged in Parbhani  and  Jalna  would  only
mean the Sessions Court under Section 209 Cr.P.C. and, therefore,  there  is
a serious doubt as to the application of MCOCA. The learned senior  counsel,
therefore, contended that such  doubt  should  be  held  in  favour  of  the
appellants under Section 21(4)(b) of MCOCA  and  the  appellants  should  be
granted bail.
Mr. Patil, learned senior counsel for the appellant in  appeal  arising  out
of  SLP(Crl.)  No.8132/2010  submitted  that  when  the  case  of  the  said
appellant  is  considered  with  reference   to   additional   charge-sheet,
appellant being a  lady  suffering  from  cancer  and  her  implication  was
because of sale of  her  two  wheeler  four  years  before  the  occurrence,
applying the decision in Salap Service Station (supra), she is entitled  for
the grant of bail.
Having noted the submissions of respective counsel, at the outset,  we  want
to note the specific challenges  made  in  these  appeals.  As  far  as  the
appellant in Criminal Appeal No.1969-70 of 2010 is concerned, he along  with
the other appellants is aggrieved by the common  judgment  of  the  Division
Bench of the Bombay High Court in Crl.A. Nos.866, 867, 868, 869 and 1024  of
2009 dated 19.07.2010.  By the said judgment, the Division Bench  set  aside
the order of the Special Judge dated 31.07.2009 in Special  Case  No.1/2009.
While setting aside the said order of the Special Judge, the Division  Bench
directed the Special  Judge  to  consider  the  bail  applications  in  Bail
Application Nos.40-42 of 2008 and pass  orders  on  merits.   In  fact,  the
Special Judge in his order dated 31.07.2009 took the  view  that  MCOCA  was
not applicable to  Special  Case  No.1/2009  and  consequently  by  invoking
Section 11 of MCOCA, directed the case to be tried  by  the  regular  Court.
Therefore, when we examine the correctness of the judgment of  the  Division
Bench dated 19.07.2010 in Crl. A Nos.866/2009 and connected appeals, if  the
said  judgment  is  to  be  upheld,  the  consequence  would   be   to   the
consideration of the bail applications under Section 21 of the MCOCA.
It is relevant to note that after the order  of  the  Division  Bench  dated
19.7.2010, the Special Judge dealt with the Bail Applications Nos. 40-42  of
2008 and dismissed all the applications. Thereafter, those orders  were  the
subject matter of challenge in Criminal Bail  Application  No.333/2011  with
Criminal Application  No.464/2011  insofar  as  the  appellant  in  Criminal
Appeal No.1969-70/2010 is  concerned.   One  other  appellant  namely,  Ajay
Eknath Rahirkar filed Criminal Application No.556/2011 which was allowed  by
the  Bombay  High  Court  and  he  was  granted  bail  by  imposing  certain
conditions.  As far as Criminal Application No.333/2011 was  concerned,  the
said application was rejected and the main Criminal Application  No.464/2011
was disposed of by the High Court.
The appellant in Criminal Appeal No.1971 of 2010 was one of the  respondents
in Criminal Appeal No.868 of 2009 which was  disposed  of  by  the  Division
Bench of the Bombay High Court by its order dated 19.07.2010 along with  the
connected appeals preferred by the State of Maharashtra  through  ATS  which
is the prosecuting agency in respect of the Special Case  No.1  of  2009  on
the file of the Special Judge under  MCOCA.  The  said  appellant  was  also
aggrieved by the order of the Division Bench referred  to  above  in  having
set aside the order of the Special Judge dated  31.07.2009.   The  appellant
in the appeal arising out of  SLP  (Crl.)  No.8132/2010  is  also  similarly
placed like that of the appellants in Criminal Appeal  Nos.1969-70/2010  and
Criminal Appeal No.1971/2010.
Having thus noted the grievances of the appellants in the above referred  to
appeals as against the order of the Division Bench dated 19.07.2010 as  well
as the subsequent order of the learned Single Judge in  having  declined  to
grant bail by confirming the order of the Special Court in Bail  Application
No.42 of 2008, from the above referred to details gathered from  the  appeal
papers as well as the  orders  impugned  in  these  appeals  the  scope  for
consideration in these appeals pertains to the questions:-
Whether the common order of the Division Bench dated  19.07.2010  in  having
set aside the order of the Special  Judge  in  Special  Case  No.1  of  2009
discharging the appellants from the said case on the ground that  MCOCA  was
not applicable to the said case and consequently the case was  to  be  tried
by the Regular Court under Section 11 of MCOCA calls for interference?
If answer to question No. (a) is in the negative, whether  for  the  purpose
of grant of bail under Section 21(4)(b) of MCOCA, can it be  held  that  the
application of the said Act is not  made  out  against  the  appellants  and
consequently the rejection of bail by the trial Court and  as  confirmed  by
the learned Single Judge of the Bombay High Court is justified?
Having thus ascertained the scope involved in these  appeals  by  virtue  of
the orders impugned herein, when we  consider  the  submissions  of  learned
counsel for the appellants, we find  that  the  sum  and  substance  of  the
submissions can be summarized as under:
"That the definition of 'continuing unlawful  activity',  'organized  crime'
or 'organized crime syndicate' as defined under Section 2(1)(d)(e)  and  (f)
of MCOCA was not  cumulatively  satisfied  in  order  to  proceed  with  the
Special Case  No.1  of  2009  for  the  alleged  commission  of  offence  of
organized crime under Section 3 of MCOCA."
 In order to find an answer to the said question  a  detailed  reference  to
some of the provisions of MCOCA, its Objects  and  Reasons  and  some  other
provisions of the Cr.P.C. are required to be  noted.  The  prime  provisions
which are relevant under MCOCA are Sections 2(1) (d), (e) & (f), 3,  21  (4)
(b), 23 (1) & (2) of MCOCA. As far as the Cr.P.C.  is  concerned,  reference
will have to be made to Sections 4, 173(2) & (8), 190, 191, 192,  193,  200,
201 and 209. In order  to  appreciate  the  said  provisions  the  same  are
extracted as under:
"The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999
Section  2  (1)(d)  "Continuing  unlawful  activity"   means   an   activity
prohibited by law for the  time  being  in  force,  which  is  a  cognizable
offence punishable with imprisonment of  three  years  or  more,  undertaken
either singly or jointly, as a member of an organized crime syndicate or  on
behalf of such syndicate in respect of which  more  than  one  charge-sheets
have been filed before a competent Court within the preceding period of  ten
years and that Court has taken cognizance of such offence;
(e)  "organized  crime"  means  any  continuing  unlawful  activity  by   an
individual, singly or jointly, either as a  member  of  an  organized  crime
syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate, by use of violence  or  threat  of
violence or intimidation or coercion, or  other  unlawful  means,  with  the
objective of gaining pecuniary benefits, or gaining undue economic or  other
advantage for himself or any other person or promoting insurgency;
(f) "Organised crime syndicate" means a group of two or  more  persons  who,
acting either singly or collectively, as a  syndicate  or  gang  indulge  in
activities of organized crime;
3. Punishment for organized crime. -  (1)  Whoever  commits  an  offence  of
organized crime shall -
      (i) if such offence has resulted  in  the  death  of  any  person,  be
punishable with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be  liable  to
a fine, subject to a minimum fine of rupees one lac;
      (ii) in any other case, be punishable with  imprisonment  for  a  term
which  shall  not  be  less  than  five  years  but  which  may  extend   to
imprisonment for life and shall also be liable  to  a  fine,  subject  to  a
minimum fine of rupees five lacs.
(2)  Whoever  conspires  or  attempts  to  commit  or  advocates,  abets  or
knowingly facilitates the commission  of  an  organized  crime  or  any  act
preparatory to organized crime, shall be punishable with imprisonment for  a
term which shall be not less  than  five  years  but  which  may  extend  to
imprisonment for life and shall also be liable  to  a  fine,  subject  to  a
minimum fine of rupees five lacs.
(3) Whoever harbours or conceals or attempts  to  harbour  or  conceal,  any
member  of  an  organized  crime  syndicate   shall   be   punishable   with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five  years  but  which
may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be  liable  to  a  fine,
subject to a minimum fine of rupees five lacs.
(4) A person who is a member  of  an  organized  crime  syndicate  shall  be
punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be  less  than  five
years but which may extend to  imprisonment  for  life  and  shall  also  be
liable to a fine, subject to a minimum fine of rupees five lacs.
(5) Whoever holds any property derived or obtained  from  commission  of  an
organized crime or which has  been  acquired  through  the  organized  crime
syndicate funds shall be punishable with a term  which  shall  not  be  less
than three years but which may extend to imprisonment  for  life  and  shall
also be liable to fine, subject to a minimum fine of rupees two lacs.
21.(4)(b) Where the Public Prosecutor opposes the application, the Court  is
satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing  that  he  is  not
guilty of such offence and that he is  not  likely  to  commit  any  offence
while on bail.
23. Cognizance of, and investigation into, an offence.- (1)  Notwithstanding
anything contained in the Code,-
(a) no information about the commission of an  offence  of  organized  crime
under this Act, shall be recorded by a  police  officer  without  the  prior
approval of the police officer not below the rank of  the  Deputy  Inspector
General of Police;
(b) No investigation of an offence under the provisions of  this  Act  shall
be  carried  out  by  a  police  officer  below  the  rank  of  the   Deputy
Superintendent of Police.
(2) No Special Court shall take cognizance of any  offence  under  this  Act
without the previous sanction of the police officer not below  the  rank  of
Additional Director General of Police."
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
4. Trial of offences under the Indian Penal Code and other  laws.-  (1)  All
offences under the Indian Penal Code (45 of  1860)  shall  be  investigated,
inquired into, tried, and otherwise dealt with according to  the  provisions
hereinafter contained.
(2) All offences under any other law shall be investigated,  inquired  into,
tried, and otherwise dealt  with  according  to  the  same  provisions,  but
subject to any enactment for the time being in force regulating  the  manner
or place of investigating, inquiring into, trying or otherwise dealing  with
such offences.
173. Report of police officer on completion of investigation:
(i) As soon as it is completed, the officer in charge of the police  station
shall forward to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance  of  the  offence
on  a  police  report,  a  report  in  the  form  prescribed  by  the  State
Government, stating -
the names of the parties;
the nature of the information;
the names of the persons who appear to be acquainted with the  circumstances
of the case;
whether any offence appears to have been committed and, if so, by whom;
whether the accused has been arrested;
whether he has been released on  his  bond  and,  if  so,  whether  with  or
without sureties;
whether he has been forwarded in custody under Section 170;
whether the report of medical examination of the  woman  has  been  attached
where investigation relates to an offence under  Section  376,  376A,  376B,
376C, Section 376D or Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860)
(ii)  the  officer  shall  also  communicate,  in  such  manner  as  may  be
prescribed by the State Government, the action taken by him, to the  person,
if any, by whom the information relating to the commission  of  offence  was
first given.
  (8)  Nothing  in  this  section  shall  be  deemed  to  preclude   further
investigation in respect of an offence after a report under sub-section  (2)
has been forwarded to the Magistrate and, whereupon such investigation,  the
officer in charge of the police station obtains further  evidence,  oral  or
documentary, he shall forward to the Magistrate a further report or  reports
regarding such evidence in the form prescribed; and the provisions  of  sub-
section (2) to (6) shall, as far as  may  be,  apply  in  relation  to  such
report or reports as they apply in relation to a report forwarded under sub-
section (2).
190.  Cognizance of offences by Magistrates.-(1) Subject to  the  provisions
of this Chapter, any Magistrate of the first class, and  any  Magistrate  of
the second class specially empowered in this behalf under  sub-section  (2),
may take cognizance of any offence-
(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence,
(b) upon a police report of such facts, and
(c) upon information received from any person other than a  police  officer,
or upon his own knowledge, that such offence has been committed.
(2)   The Chief Judicial  Magistrate  may  empower  any  Magistrate  of  the
second class to take cognizance under sub-section (1) of  such  offences  as
are within his competence to inquire into or try.
(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitutes such offence:
(b) upon a police report of such facts:
(c) upon information received from any person other than a  police  officer,
or upon his own knowledge, that such offence has been committed.
191. Transfer on application  of  the  accused.-  When  a  Magistrate  takes
cognizance of an offence under clause (c)  of  sub-section  (1)  of  section
190, the accused shall, before any evidence is taken, be  informed  that  he
is entitled to have the case inquired into or tried by  another  Magistrate,
and if the accused or any of  the  accused,  if  there  be  more  than  one,
objects to further proceedings before the Magistrate taking cognizance,  the
case shall be transferred to such other Magistrate as may  be  specified  by
the Chief Judicial Magistrate in this behalf.
192. Making over of cases to Magistrates.-(1) Any Chief Judicial  Magistrate
may, after taking cognizance of an offence, make over the case  for  inquiry
or trial to any competent Magistrate subordinate to him.
(2)   Any Magistrate of the first class empowered  in  this  behalf  by  the
Chief Judicial Magistrate may, after taking cognizance of an  offence,  make
over the case for inquiry or trial to such  other  competent  Magistrate  as
the Chief Judicial Magistrate may, by general  or  special  order,  specify,
and thereupon such Magistrate may hold the inquiry or trial.
193.  Cognizance of offences by Courts  of  Session.-  Except  as  otherwise
expressly provided by this Code or by any other law for the  time  being  in
force, no Court of Session shall take cognizance of any offence as  a  Court
of original jurisdiction unless the case has  been  committed  to  it  by  a
Magistrate under this Code.
200.  Examination of complainant.- A  Magistrate  taking  cognizance  of  an
offence on complaint  shall  examine  upon  oath  the  complainant  and  the
witnesses present, if any, and the substance of such  examination  shall  be
reduced  to  writing  and  shall  be  signed  by  the  complainant  and  the
witnesses, and also by the Magistrate:
Provided that, when the complaint is made in writing,  the  Magistrate  need
not examine the complainant and the witnesses-
(a) if a public servant acting or purporting to act in the discharge of  his
official duties or a court has made the complaint; or
(b) if the Magistrate makes over the case for inquiry or  trial  to  another
Magistrate under section 192:
            Provided further that if the Magistrate makes over the  case  to
another Magistrate under section 192 after  examining  the  complainant  and
the witnesses, the latter Magistrate need not re-examined them.
201.  Procedure by Magistrate not competent to take cognizance of the case.-
(1) If the complaint is made to a Magistrate who is not  competent  to  take
cognizance of the offence, he shall.-
(a)   if the complaint is in writing, return  it  for  presentation  to  the
proper Court with an endorsement to that effect;
(b)   if the complaint is not in writing,  direct  the  complainant  to  the
proper Court.
209. Commitment of  case  to  Court  of  Session  when  offence  is  triable
exclusively by  it.-when  in  a  case  instituted  on  a  police  report  or
otherwise, the accused appears or is brought before the  Magistrate  and  it
appears to the Magistrate that the offence is  triable  exclusively  by  the
Court of Session, he shall-
      (a) commit, after complying with the  provisions  of  Section  207  or
Section 208, as the case may be, the case to  the  Court  of  Sessions,  and
subject to the provisions of this Code relating to bail, remand the  accused
to custody until such commitment has been made;
      (b) subject to the provisions of this Code relating  to  bail,  remand
the accused to custody, and until the conclusion of, the trial;
      (c) send to that Court the record of the case and  the  documents  and
articles, if any, which are to be produced in evidence;
      (d) notify the Public Prosecutor of the commitment of the case to  the
Court of Session.
In the first instance, it will be profitable to examine the scheme of  MCOCA
by making a cursory glance to the Objects  and  Reasons  and  thereafter  to
make an intensive reading of the  above  referred  to  provisions.  When  we
peruse the Objects and Reasons, it discloses that organized crime  has  been
posing very serious threat to our society for quite some years  and  it  was
also  noted  that  organized  crime  syndicates  had  a  common  cause  with
terrorist gangs. In the Objects and Reasons, the foremost consideration  was
the serious threat to the society by those who were indulging  in  organized
crimes in the recent years apart from organized  crime  criminals  operating
hand in glove with terrorist gangs.  It is common  knowledge  that  for  the
terrorist gangs, the sole object is to create panic in the  minds  of  peace
loving members of the society and in that process attempt  to  achieve  some
hidden agenda which cannot be easily identified, but certainly will  not  be
in the general interest or well being of the society.  Those who  prefer  to
act in such clandestine manner and activities will formulate their own mind-
set and ill-will towards others and attempt to achieve their  objectives  by
indulging  in  unlawful  hazardous  criminal  activities  unmindful  of  the
serious consequences and in majority of such  cases  it  results  in  severe
loss of  life  of  innocent  people  apart  from  extensive  damage  to  the
properties of public at large.  It  was  further  found  that  the  existing
legal framework, that is the penal and procedural laws and the  adjudicatory
system, were found to be  inadequate  to  curb  or  control  the  menace  of
'organized crime'. The Objects and Reasons also states that such  'organized
crimes' were  filled  by  illegal  wealth  generated  by  contract  killing,
extrusion, smuggling in contraband, illegal trade in  narcotics,  kidnapping
for ransom, collection of protection money, money  laundering  etc.  Keeping
the above serious repercussions referred to  in  the  Objects  and  Reasons,
when we examine Section 2(1)(d)(e)&(f), which defines  'continuing  unlawful
activity', 'organized crime' or 'organized crime syndicate',  we  find  that
the three definitions are closely interlinked.
The definition of  'continuing  unlawful  activity'  under  Section  2(1)(d)
mainly refers to an activity prohibited by law. The said activity should  be
a cognizable offence, punishable with imprisonment of three years  or  more.
The commission of such offence should have  been  undertaken  either  by  an
individual singly or by joining  with  others  either  as  a  member  of  an
'organized crime syndicate' or even if as an individual or by joining  hands
with others even if not as a member of a 'organized  crime  syndicate'  such
commission of an offence should have been on behalf of  such  syndicate.  It
further states that in order to come within the  definition  of  'continuing
unlawful activity' there should have been more than one  charge-sheet  filed
before a competent Court within the preceding period of 10  years  and  that
the said Court should have taken cognizance of such offence.
Before getting into the  nuances  of  the  said  definition  of  'continuing
unlawful activity', it will be  worthwhile  to  get  a  broad  idea  of  the
definition of 'organized crime' under Section 2(1)(e) and  'organized  crime
syndicate' under  Section  2(1)(f).  An  'organized  crime'  should  be  any
'continuing unlawful activity' either by an individual  singly  or  jointly,
either as a member of an 'organized crime syndicate' or on  behalf  of  such
syndicate.  The  main  ingredient  of  the  said  definition  is  that  such
'continuing unlawful activity' should  have  been  indulged  in  by  use  of
violence or  threat  of  violence  or  intimidation  or  coercion  or  other
unlawful means. Further such violence and other activity  should  have  been
indulged in with an objective  of  gaining  pecuniary  benefits  or  gaining
undue economic or other advantage for himself or for  any  other  person  or
for promoting insurgency. Therefore,  an  'organized  crime'  by  nature  of
violent action indulged in by an individual singly or jointly  either  as  a
member of an 'organized crime syndicate' or  on  behalf  of  such  syndicate
should have been either with an object for making pecuniary gains  or  undue
economic or other advantage or for promoting insurgency. If the  object  was
for making pecuniary gains it can be either for himself  or  for  any  other
person.  But  we  notice  for  promoting  insurgency,  there  is   no   such
requirement of any personal interest or the interest of any other person  or
body. The mere indulgence in a violent activity etc.  either  for  pecuniary
gain or other advantage  or  for  promoting  insurgency  as  an  individual,
either singly or jointly as a member of 'organized crime  syndicate'  or  on
behalf of a such  syndicate  would  be  sufficient  for  bringing  the  said
activity within the four corners of the definition of 'organized crime'.
An 'organized crime syndicate' is a group of two  or  more  persons  who  by
acting singly or collectively as a syndicate or gang indulge  in  activities
of 'organized crime'.
By conspectus reading of the above three definitions, if  in  the  preceding
10 years from the date of third continuing unlawful activity  if  more  than
one charge-sheet has been filed before a competent  Court  which  had  taken
cognizance of such offence which would result in imposition of a  punishment
of three years or more, undertaken  by  a  person  individually  or  jointly
either as a member of an 'organized crime syndicate' or on its behalf,  such
crime if falls within the definition of 'organized  crime',  the  invocation
of MCOCA would be the resultant position.
Keeping the above broad prescription as the outcome  of  the  definition  of
Section 2(1)(d)(e)&(f) in mind, when we refer to Section 3, we find that  it
is  a  penal  provision  under  which,  the  various  punishments  for   the
commission of 'organized crime' have been set out and  such  punishment  can
be up to life imprisonment and  even  death,  apart  from  fine  subject  to
minimum  of  Rupees  one  lakh  to  maximum  of  Rupees  five   lakhs.   The
imprisonment ranges from five  years  to  life  imprisonment  and  can  also
result in imposition of death penalty. Section 17 prescribes  Special  Rules
of evidence notwithstanding anything contrary contained in  Cr.P.C.  or  the
Indian Evidence Act for the purposes of trial and  punishment  for  offences
under MCOCA. Section 18 of the Act is  again  a  non-obstante  clause  which
states that irrespective of any provision in  the  Code  or  in  the  Indian
Evidence Act, and subject to the provisions of said  Section,  a  confession
made  by  a  person  before  a  police  officer  not  below  the   rank   of
Superintendent of Police and recorded  by  such  police  officer  either  in
writing or in any mechanical devices like cassettes, tapes or  sound  tracks
from which sounds or images can be reproduced shall  be  admissible  in  the
trial of such person or co-accused abettor or conspirator provided they  are
charged and tried in the same case together with the accused. Section 20  is
yet another provision under MCOCA which prescribes that where  a  person  is
convicted of any of the offence punishable under MCOCA,  the  Special  Court
may in addition to awarding any punishment,  by  order  in  writing  declare
that any property, movable or immovable or both, belonging  to  the  accused
and specified in the order shall stand forfeited  to  the  State  Government
free from all encumbrances etc. Under Section 21,  which  again  is  a  non-
obstante  clause,  the  provisions  of  the  Act  notwithstanding   anything
contained in the Code or any other law shall be deemed to  be  a  cognizable
offence within the meaning of clause (c)  of  Section  2  of  the  Code  and
"cognizable  case"  as  defined  in  that  clause  should   be   constructed
Under Section 21(4) notwithstanding  anything  contained  in  the  Code,  no
person accused of an offence punishable under MCOCA, when he is in  custody,
should be released on bail on his own bond unless under  sub-clause  (b)  of
sub-section (4) even when the Public Prosecutor opposes the application  for
bail,  the  Court  is  satisfied  that  there  are  reasonable  grounds  for
believing that the said accused is not guilty of such offence  and  that  he
is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.
Under Section  22  there  is  a  rebuttable  presumption  of  commission  of
organized crime punishable under Section 3 unless the  contrary  is  proved.
Under Section 23 a safeguard is provided to the effect  that  under  Section
23(1)(a) no information about the commission  of  an  offence  of  organized
crime under MCOCA should be recorded by a police officer without  the  prior
approval of a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Inspector  General
of Police. Further under Section 23(1)(b) no  investigation  of  an  offence
under MCOCA shall be carried out by a  police  officer  below  the  rank  of
Deputy Superintendent of Police. Under sub-Section (2)  of  Section  23,  no
Special Court should take cognizance of any offence under MCOCA without  the
previous sanction of the police officer not below  the  rank  of  Additional
Director General of Police.
Reference to the above provisions  thus  discloses  that  the  Act  is  very
stringent in its operation when it comes to the question of dealing with  an
'organized crime' committed by an 'organized crime syndicate' in respect  of
a 'continuing unlawful activity'. With the above  salient  features  of  the
provisions of MCOCA in mind, when we consider  the  various  submissions  of
the learned counsel, the main submissions of the  learned  counsel  for  the
appellants were five-fold.
The first submission was that the present appellants  were  all  alleged  to
have been involved in a bomb blast which occurred on 29.09.2008 at  a  place
called 'Malegaon'. According to the prosecuting agency, the appellants  were
either  member  of  an  organization  called  'Abhinav  Bharat'  which   was
registered in the year 2007 or the commission of  the  offence  was  jointly
with the members of the  said  organization  for  and  on  its  behalf.  The
contention in the foremost was that in order to rope in  the  appellants  on
the above footing, the requirement of Section 2(1)(d),  namely,  'continuing
unlawful activity' must have been satisfied. In order  to  demonstrate  such
compliance, it was contended on behalf of the prosecuting agency that  there
were two earlier occurrences of bomb blasts one in  Parbhani  on  21.11.2003
and another at Jalna on 27.08.2004, that on those two earlier occurrences A-
7, namely, Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade was involved who is also a member of  the
present  gang  and  consequently  the  definition  of  'continuing  unlawful
activity' is satisfied.
The learned counsel for the appellants on the other hand contended that  A-7
was not a member of the so-called 'Abhinav Bharat',  that  'Abhinav  Bharat'
as an  organization  was  not  indisputably  involved  in  the  two  earlier
occurrences  in  the  year  2003  and  2004,  therefore,  when  such   clear
demarcation existed as between the  appellants,  the  so-called  members  of
Abhinav Bharat and the earlier occurrences of 2003 and  2004,  as  well  as,
the exclusion of A-7 as member of 'Abhinav Bharat' there  was  no  scope  to
invoke MCOCA.
We are, in the first instance, concerned with the appellant's  challenge  to
the order of the Division Bench dated 19.07.2010 wherein the  sole  question
considered pertains to the application of MCOCA based on the  definition  of
'continuing unlawful activity' under Section  2(1)(d)  for  the  purpose  of
grant  of  bail  under  Section  21(4)(b)  of  MCOCA.  To  recapitulate  the
background of this litigation, it was the order of discharge passed  by  the
Special Judge in Special Case No.1 of 2009 dated 31.07.2009 on  the  footing
that cognizance of two earlier cases within  preceding  10  years  from  the
date of third occurrence dated 29.09.2008 was not  satisfied  and  based  on
the said conclusion the Special Judge passed  the  order  of  discharge  and
also simultaneously passed an order under Section 11  for  the  transfer  of
the Special Case No.1 of 2009 to the Regular Court  which  went  before  the
Division Bench at the instance of the  State  and  the  prosecuting  agency.
The Division Bench while dealing with the said  conclusion  of  the  Special
Court took a contrary  view  holding  that  the  Special  Judge  misdirected
himself by stating that the cognizance was with reference  to  the  offender
and not the offence which led to the passing of such an illegal order  dated
31.07.2009. The Division Bench took the view that going  by  the  provisions
contained in Section 2(1)(d) read along with Sections 190 and 173(3) of  the
Cr.P.C., as well as the settled principles in the various decisions of  this
Court, the cognizance of offence was taken as early as on 07.09.2006 in  the
Parbhani case and 30.09.2006 in  the  Jalna  case,  which  were  within  the
preceding 10 years from  the  date  of  the  occurrence  of  Malegaon  case,
namely, 29.09.2008 and therefore, the  order  of  discharge  passed  by  the
Special Judge was not sustainable and valid in law.
Having recapitulated the background to the above extent when we examine  the
contentions raised, it must be stated that the conclusion  of  the  Division
Bench as regards  the  cognizance  aspect  cannot  be  held  to  be  totally
erroneous when  it  struck  down  the  order  of  the  Special  Judge  dated
31.07.2009. Keeping aside for the present the various other submissions  and
considering the opening submission of the counsel while assailing the  order
of Division Bench wherein we confine to  the  question  relating  to  taking
cognizance of the offence as  set  out  apparently  in  Section  2(1)(d)  of
MCOCA. In that perception, on the opening submission of the learned  counsel
for the appellants we too have no hesitation to hold that the cognizance  of
the offence as stated to have been rightly taken into account in respect  of
Parbhani  and  Jalna  based  on  the  charge-sheets  dated  07.09.2006   and
30.09.2006 respectively was perfectly in order to apply  the  definition  of
'continuing unlawful activity'  for  the  purpose  of  invoking  MCOCA  with
reference to Malegaon occurrence. We, however, wish  to  examine  in  detail
the justification for our above conclusion  when  we  deal  with  the  other
contentions  where  submissions  were  made  in  extenso   with   particular
reference to the involvement of A-7 in the alleged occurrences  of  Parbhani
and Jalna, more particularly with reference to  the  date  of  supplementary
charge-sheet, arrest made and the arrest made  with  reference  to  Malegaon
occurrence and the alleged nexus as between the appellants and A-7 in  order
to find out whether application of MCOCA could still be held to  be  validly
made by the prosecuting agency.  For the present by reaching our  conclusion
as above on  the  first  submission,  we  proceed  to  deal  with  the  next
submission of learned counsel for the appellants.
The submission of the learned counsel for  the  appellants  was  that  under
Section 2(1)(d), in order to construe a 'continuing unlawful  activity'  two
earlier charge-sheets in the preceding 10 years should exist and  that  such
charge-sheets should have been  taken  cognizance  by  the  competent  court
within the said period of 10 years and it must have  been  accomplished.  It
was also contended that for ascertaining the said position, the date of  the
third occurrence should be the relevant date for counting the  preceding  10
years. Insofar as that claim is concerned, it can be straight away  accepted
that since Section 2(1)(d) uses the expression 'an  activity'  in  the  very
opening set of expressions, which is prohibited by law,  the  date  of  such
activity, namely, the third one can be taken as the relevant  date  for  the
purpose of finding out the two earlier charge-sheets  in  the  preceding  10
years, in which event in the present case, the preceding 10 years will  have
to be counted from 29.09.2008 which was the date when the  third  occurrence
of Malegaon bomb blast took place.
With reference to Malegaon bomb blast, A-7 is the key person to be noted  as
it was with reference to his involvement  in  the  earlier  two  bomb  blast
cases, namely, Parbhani and Jalna the whole  case  of  the  prosecution  for
invoking MCOCA  was  developed.  Even  while  examining  the  various  other
submissions, we want to once again reiterate that our present  endeavour  is
for examining the correctness of the  order  of  the  Division  Bench  which
stems from the first order of the Special Judge dated  31.07.2009  by  which
the appellants were discharged and the consequential order under Section  11
transferring the case to the Regular Court. It must also be stated that  our
endeavour in this respect is also for the purpose of finding  an  answer  to
the prescription contained in Section 21(4)(b) of MCOCA.
Therefore, what all to be examined is whether cognizance of the earlier  two
offences as mentioned in the definition of Section 2(1)(d)  was  duly  taken
within the preceding period of 10 years.  Having  stated  in  uncontroverted
terms that 29.09.2008 is  the  relevant  date,  namely  the  date  of  third
occurrence (i.e.) Malegaon bomb blast, when we  go  back,  the  question  is
whether in respect of the bomb blast in Parbhani on 21.11.2003  and  similar
bomb  blast  in  Jalna  on  27.08.2004  the  charge-sheets  were  filed  and
cognizance was taken by the  competent  court  within  the  said  period  of
preceding 10 years. There is no controversy as to the date of occurrence  of
the above two bomb blasts. There is also no  dispute  that  the  very  first
charge-sheet in Parbhani as against A-1 was filed on 07.09.2006  before  the
Chief Judicial Magistrate. Similarly, the filing of the  first  charge-sheet
on 30.09.2006 in Jalna case is also  not  in  dispute.  The  contention  put
forward is  that  the  supplementary  charge-sheet  in  respect  of  A-7  in
Parbhani case was filed only on 13.11.2008 and on 15.11.2008 in  Jalna  case
and if those two dates with regard to A-7 are taken as the  relevant  dates,
then the requirement of  two  earlier  cases  as  stipulated  under  Section
2(1)(d) preceding 10 years period was not satisfied, inasmuch as,  the  date
of third occurrence was 29.09.2008 and the date of charge-sheets as  against
the A-7 were subsequent to that date  and  not  earlier.  The  said  crucial
factor is required to be determined  to  decide  the  contention  raised  on
behalf of the appellants. In this  context  reliance  was  placed  upon  the
decisions in Ajit Kumar Palit (supra) and Dilawar Singh  (supra)  on  behalf
of  the  appellants.  That  apart,  reference  was  also  made  to   Section
173(2)(i)(a) and 173(8) to contend that cognizance referred  to  in  context
of MCOCA would only relate to  the  offender  and  not  to  the  offence  as
prescribed under Section 190(1)(b).
As against the above submissions Mr. Anil Singh, learned ASG  appearing  for
respondent-State and Mr. Mariarputham, learned Senior Counsel appearing  for
the State of Maharashtra and NIA contended that the relevant dates  are  the
first charge-sheet filed in Parbhani case on 07.09.2006 and  in  Jalna  case
on 30.09.2006.  Reliance  was  placed  upon  the  decisions  in  R.R.  Chari
(supra), Raghbans Dubey (supra), Darshan Singh  Ram  Kishan  (supra),  Salap
Service Station (supra),  CREF  Finance  Limited  (supra),  Pastor  P.  Raju
(supra), Videocon International Ltd. (supra) and  Fakhruddin  Ahmad  (supra)
in support of the submission. Reliance was  also  placed  upon  Section  190
Cr.P.C. to contend that cognizance  of  offence  is  relevant  and  not  the
offender and, therefore, the initial date of cognizance taken by  the  Chief
Judicial Magistrate on the above dates in  respect  of  Parbhani  and  Jalna
will hold good for invoking MCOCA.
It was also contended that cognizance is an act which  a  Court  when  first
apply its judicial mind  with  a  view  to  proceed  with  the  matter  and,
therefore, when in Parbhani and Jalna by virtue of Section  190  read  along
with Section 173 based on the report of the police when  the  first  charge-
sheet was filed on 07.09.2006 and 30.09.2006 respectively  in  Parbhani  and
Jalna, the requirement of  taking  cognizance  by  the  Competent  Court  in
respect of offences under the Indian Penal Code which alone was relevant  in
respect of the  two  earlier  cases  was  satisfied  and  nothing  more  was
required to be shown. Further reliance was placed upon R.R.  Chari  (supra),
Darshan Singh Ram Kishan (supra), Mohd. Khalid (supra), Mona Panwar  (supra)
and Sarah Mathew (supra) in support of the above submissions.
Keeping the respective submissions of the learned counsel in  mind  when  we
examine the said issue, in the first instance we wish to refer  to  relevant
provisions touching upon this issue, namely, Section 2(1)(d)  of  MCOCA  and
Section 173(2) and  (8)  as  well  as  Sections  190  and  193  of  Criminal
Procedure Code. When we refer to Section 2(1)(d) of MCOCA the definition  of
'continuing unlawful activity' is defined to mean an activity prohibited  by
law and that it should be a cognizable offence punishable with  imprisonment
of three years or more. For the purpose of ascertaining the  issue  relating
to cognizance, the other part of the said definition which  requires  to  be
noted is that more than one charge-sheet should have  been  filed  before  a
Competent Court within the preceding period  of  10  years  and  that  Court
should have taken cognizance of such offence. The offence should alleged  to
have been committed either singly or jointly as a  member  of  an  organized
crime syndicate or on its behalf. In so far as the offences  are  concerned,
if the offence would attract a punishment of three years or more that  would
suffice for falling within the  said  definition.  The  charge-sheet  should
have been filed before a Competent Court  with  reference  to  such  offence
against the offenders.
One of the contentions raised and which was  countered  by  the  respondents
was  that  such  two  earlier  offences  should  also  satisfy   the   other
requirements stipulated under MCOCA, namely, as a  member  of  an  organized
crime syndicate or on behalf of an organized crime syndicate  either  singly
or jointly. A strict interpretation  of  Section  2(1)(d)  would  definitely
mean the fulfillment of such requirement since the  definition  specifically
reads to the effect 'undertaken either singly or jointly as a member  of  an
organized crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate'.  Therefore,  even
if the earlier offences were not initiated under  the  provisions  of  MCOCA
such initiations should have  been  capable  of  being  brought  within  the
provisions of MCOCA, namely, as part of an activity of  an  organized  crime
syndicate either by its own members either singly or jointly or  though  not
as a member but  such  participation  should  have  been  on  behalf  of  an
'organized crime syndicate'.  As  far  as  filing  of  the  charge-sheet  is
concerned what all it refers to is such filing before a Competent Court  and
that Court should have taken cognizance of such offence.
A minute reference to the said Section, therefore, shows that in  the  event
of the fulfillment of the rest of the requirements, namely,  the  nature  of
offence providing for punishment of three years and  more,  the  involvement
of the offender as required under the said definition, when it comes to  the
question of filing of the  charge-sheet,  the  requirement  of  such  filing
should be before a competent court within a period preceding  10  years  and
that such court has taken cognizance of such  offence.  Significantly,  when
it comes to the question of fulfillment of  the  requirement  of  cognizance
what is prescribed is the cognizance of such offence and not  the  offender.
As far as the court is concerned, here again the specific reference used  is
'competent court' and not 'Sessions Court'.  Therefore,  keeping  aside  the
rest of the requirements to be  fulfilled  under  Section  2(1)(d)  for  the
present, when we consider the requirement  of  filing  of  the  charge-sheet
before the  Competent  Court  and  such  Court  taking  cognizance  of  such
offence, it can be stated without any scope of controversy that two  earlier
cases which would  attract  a  punishment  of  more  than  three  years  and
prohibited by law, undertaken singly or jointly as a member of an  organized
crime syndicate or on its behalf, if more than one charge-sheet is filed  in
respect of such offence before the Competent Court and the  said  Court  had
taken cognizance of such offence, the  definition  of  "continuing  unlawful
activity" would be satisfied.
Keeping the said prescription of  the  definition  of  "continuing  unlawful
activity" under Section 2(1)(d) in mind when we examine the question  as  to
taking of cognizance and the Competent  Court  before  whom  more  than  one
charge-sheet to be filed, there is no  other  provision  under  MCOCA  which
deals with or  prescribes  any  stipulation  for  fulfillment  of  the  said
requirement.  We  have  to,  therefore,  necessarily  fall  back  upon   the
provisions contained in  the  Criminal  Procedure  Code.  For  that  purpose
reference to Sections 173, 190 and 193  have  to  be  noted.  Under  Section
173(2)(i), it is stipulated that as soon as the investigation is  completed,
the  officer  in-charge  of  the  Police  Station  should  forward  to   the
Magistrate who is empowered to take cognizance of the offence  on  a  police
report in the form prescribed by the State Government, which should  contain
among other things the names of the parties, the nature of information,  the
names of the persons who appear to be acquainted with the  circumstances  of
the case and various other details.
When we read the said Section 173(2)(i) along with Section 190  of  Cr.P.C.,
it can be seen that any Magistrate of the first class or any  Magistrate  of
the second class specially empowered as provided under  sub-section  (2)  of
the said Section may take cognizance of any offence upon a police report  of
such  facts.  Therefore,  reading  Section  173(2)(i)  along  with   Section
190(1)(b), a duty is cast upon the officer in-charge of the  police  station
mandatorily  to  forward  to  the  Magistrate  who  is  empowered  to   take
cognizance of the offence on a police report. Under  Section  190(1)(b)  any
Magistrate of the first class and for that matter any Magistrate  of  second
class  who  is  empowered  by  the  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate  for  taking
cognizance under sub-Section (1) can take cognizance of  any  offence  based
on filing of a police report furnished with the facts  as  stipulated  under
Section 173(2)(i) (a to h). A conjoint  reading  of  Section  173(2)(i)  and
Section 190(1)(b), therefore, makes the position crystal clear  that  taking
of cognizance of any offence by a Magistrate  of  the  First  Class  or  the
Second Class  subject  to  empowerment  created  under  sub-Section  (2)  of
Section 190 can take cognizance upon a police report.  It can be  emphasized
here that under Section 190 (1) (b) where the Police  Report  as  stated  in
Section 173(2) (i) is filed before a Magistrate under  Section  190(1)  (b),
irrespective of  the  nature  of  offence,  the  said  Magistrate  has  been
invested with all the powers to take cognizance  by  applying  his  judicial
mind.  To be more  precise,  once  the  Police  Report  is  filed  before  a
judicial Magistrate as prescribed under Section 190(1)  (b),  who  has  been
invested with the judicial authority to take cognizance of  any  offence  in
the first instance, the requirement of taking cognizance gets  fulfilled  at
that very moment. Further the  very  fact  that  proceedings  pertaining  to
Parbhani  and  Jalna  were  pending  before  the   Magistrate   where   such
proceedings were initiated by the filing  of  the  police  report  till  the
occurrence in Malegaon took place itself was sufficient to demonstrate  that
judicial mind was very much applied to the proceedings based on  the  police
report consequent upon cognizance taken.
Keeping the said prescription of law in mind, when we apply the  requirement
as stipulated under Section 2(1)(d) of MCOCA, without straining any  further
on this question, it can be safely held that the requirement  of  filing  of
the charge-sheet in two earlier cases before the competent court in  respect
of an offence stipulated under Section 2(1)(d) can be held to  be  satisfied
once cognizance is taken by a Judicial Magistrate  of  first  class  or  for
that matter an empowered second class Magistrate, in the event of filing  of
a police report as prescribed under  Section  173(2)(i)  by  virtue  of  the
power vested under Section 190(1)(b) of Cr.P.C. If the  ingredients  of  the
above requirements are fulfilled it will have to be held, that that part  of
the requirement  under Section 2(1)(d), namely, the competent  court  taking
cognizance of the offence as stipulated under Section 2(1)(d) in respect  of
two earlier cases will get fulfilled.
Once we steer clear of the said legal position,  to  emphasize  further,  we
also wish to refer to Section 193 Cr.P.C. the caption of which  specifically
states "Cognizance of offences by Courts of Session". The  said  Section  is
negatively couched and states that except as  otherwise  expressly  provided
by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force,  no  Court  of
Session shall take  cognizance  of  any  offence  as  a  Court  of  Original
Jurisdiction unless the case has been committed to it by a Magistrate  under
this Code. For our purpose of  ascertaining  the  requirement  of  competent
court and cognizance stipulated under Section  2(1)(d)  of  MCOCA,  we  find
that under Section 193, the Court of Session can take hold of the case as  a
Court of Original Jurisdiction only after committal order is  passed  to  it
by a Magistrate under the  provisions  of  Cr.P.C.,  whereas  under  Section
190(1)(b), the power of a Magistrate has been pithily stated  to  mean  that
he can take cognizance of any offence subject  to  the  fulfillment  of  the
requirements (a), (b) and (c) and no further.
We are now pitted with the question as to whether the taking  of  cognizance
of the offence by the Competent Court under  Section  2(1)(d)  of  MCOCA  is
referable only to the Court of Sessions or even to  a  Magistrate  of  first
class under Section 190. In this  context,  when  we  read  Section  2(1)(d)
along with 190 and 193 in the absence of  any  specific  stipulation  either
under Section 2(1)(d) of MCOCA or any other provision under the said Act  in
the ordinary course of interpretation it  can  be  validly  stated  that  on
fulfillment of Section 190, when a Judicial Magistrate of first class or  an
empowered second class Magistrate, takes  cognizance  of  any  offence  that
would fulfill the requirement  of  Section  2(1)(d)  relating  to  competent
court. We have noted under MCOCA that beyond what has been stipulated  under
Section 2(1)(d)  there  is  no  other  provision  dealing  with  the  matter
relating to a Competent Court for the purpose  of  taking  cognizance.  When
under the provisions of Cr.P.C., Judicial  Magistrate  of  first  class  has
been empowered to take cognizance of any offence based on a  Police  Report,
we fail to see any hurdle  to  state  that  on  taking  cognizance  in  that
manner, the said court  should  be  held  to  be  the  competent  court  for
satisfying the requirement of Section 2(1)(d) of MCOCA. In this respect,  we
will have to bear in mind that the implication  of  MCOCA  would  come  into
play only after the third occurrence takes place  and  only  after  that  it
will have to be seen whether on the earlier two such  occasions  involvement
of someone jointly or singly, either as a  member  of  an  'organized  crime
syndicate' or on its behalf indulged in  a  crime  in  respect  of  which  a
charge-sheet has already been filed before the Competent Court  which  Court
had taken cognizance of such offence.
Therefore, we are able to state the legal position without any ambiguity  to
the effect that in the event of a Judicial  first  class  Magistrate  or  an
empowered second class Magistrate having  taken  cognizance  of  an  offence
based on a  police  report  as  stipulated  under  Section  173(2)(i),  such
cognizance of an offence would fulfill the requirement of that part  of  the
definition under Section 2(1)(d) of MCOCA. Once we  are  able  to  ascertain
the said legal  position  by  way  of  strict  interpretation,  without  any
ambiguity, we also wish to refer to various decisions relied upon by  either
party to note whether there is any scope of contradiction with reference  to
said legal position.
Mr. Lalit, learned counsel  in the course of  his  submissions  relied  upon
Ajit Kumar Palit v. State of West Bengal and another - AIR 1963 SC  765.  In
the said decision with reference to the  expression  'cognizance'  a  three-
Judge Bench of this Court has explained what is really  meant  by  the  said
expression in the following words in paragraph 19:
"......The word "cognizance" has  no  esoteric  or  mystic  significance  in
criminal law or procedure. It merely means-become aware  of  and  when  used
with reference to a court or Judge, to take notice  of  judicially.  It  was
stated in Gopal Marwari v. Emperor, AIR 1943 PAT 245  (SB)  by  the  learned
Judges of the Patna High Court in a passage quoted  with  approval  by  this
Court in R.R. Chari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1951 SCR  312  at  page  320:
(AIR 1951 SC 207 at page 210) that the word "cognizance"  was  used  in  the
Code to indicate the point when  the  Magistrate  or  Judge  takes  judicial
notice of an offence and that it was a word of  indefinite  import,  and  is
not perhaps always used in exactly the same sense. As  observed  in  Emperor
v. Sourindra Mohan Chuekorbutty,  ILR  37  CAL  412  at  page  416,  "taking
cognizance does not involve any formal  action;  or  indeed  action  of  any
kind, but occurs as soon as a Magistrate, as such, applies his mind  to  the
suspected commission of  an  offence".  Where  the  statute  proscribes  the
materials on which alone the judicial mind shall operate before any step  is
taken, obviously the statutory requirement must be fulfilled......"
                                                            (Emphasis added)
In the above extracted portion the reference made to  the  earlier  judgment
in R.R. Chari's case reported in R.R. Chari (supra) at  page  210  that  the
word 'cognizance' was used in the Court  to  indicate  the  point  when  the
Magistrate or Judge takes judicial notice of an  offence  throws  sufficient
light to state that at that very moment when  a  Magistrate  takes  judicial
notice of an offence, the requirement of cognizance  of  such  offence  will
get  fulfilled.  Therefore,  the  said  decision  also  fully  supports  our
conclusion on the question of taking cognizance by the competent Court.
Reliance was then placed upon the  decision  in  Dilawar  Singh  (supra)  in
particular paragraph 8.  The said paragraph 8 reads as under:
"8. The contention raised by learned  counsel  for  the  respondent  that  a
court takes cognizance of an offence and not of an offender holds good  when
a Magistrate takes cognizance of an offence  under  Section  190  CrPC.  The
observations made by this Court in Raghubans Dubey v. State  of  Bihar  were
also made in that context. The Prevention of Corruption  Act  is  a  special
statute and as the preamble shows, this Act has been enacted to  consolidate
and amend the law relating to the prevention of corruption and  for  matters
connected therewith. Here, the principle expressed in  the  maxim  generalia
specialibus  non  derogant  would  apply  which  means  that  if  a  special
provision has been made on a certain matter, that matter  is  excluded  from
the general provisions. (See Godde Venkateswara Rao v. Govt. of A.P.,  State
of Bihar v. Dr. Yogendra Singh and Maharashtra State Board of Secondary  and
Higher Secondary Education v. Paritosh Bhupeshkumar Sheth.)  Therefore,  the
provisions of Section 19 of the Act will have an overriding effect over  the
general provisions contained in Section 190 or 319  CrPC.  A  Special  Judge
while trying an offence  under  the  Prevention  of  Corruption  Act,  1988,
cannot summon another person  and  proceed  against  him  in  the  purported
exercise of power under Section 319 CrPC if no sanction has been granted  by
the appropriate authority for prosecution of such a person as the  existence
of a sanction is sine qua non for taking cognizance of the offence qua  that
                                                            (Emphasis added)
By relying upon the said part of the decision it was contended  that  taking
'cognizance of an offence' cannot be  the  universal  rule  and  that  under
special circumstances such cognizance of offence would be qua  that  person,
namely, the offender. It is true that in the  said  decision  while  dealing
with the requirement of sanction under  Section  19  of  the  Prevention  of
Corruption Act with reference to an offence under Section 13(2) of the  said
Act, this Court did say that in the absence of a sanction under  Section  19
the taking of cognizance of the offence qua that person cannot  be  held  to
have been made out. When we apply the said decision, it must be stated  that
it was laid in the  context  of  an  offence  under  Section  13(2)  of  the
Prevention  of  Corruption  Act  which  Act  specifically   stipulates   the
requirement of prior sanction under Section  19  for  proceeding  against  a
public servant by way of  a  sanction  and,  therefore,  it  was  held  that
Section 19 of the Act will  have  an  overriding  effect  over  the  general
provisions contained in Section 190 or 319 of Cr.P.C.  For  the  fulfillment
of the requirement to be complied with under Section 2(1)(d) of  MCOCA,  for
ascertaining a 'continuing unlawful activity' in the  absence  of  any  such
restriction as stipulated under Section 19 of the Prevention  of  Corruption
Act under the provisions of MCOCA we have found that Section 190  will  have
every effect insofar as  taking  of  cognizance  by  a  competent  Court  is
concerned as stipulated under Section 2(1)(d) and, therefore, as held by  us
on compliance of the said requirement under Section 190, namely,  cognizance
of the offence by the competent Magistrate, that  part  of  the  requirement
under Section 2(1)(d) will get automatically fulfilled.
Reliance was then placed upon the decision in Fakhruddin Ahmad  (supra),  in
particular paragraph 17. The said paragraph 17 reads as under:
"17. Nevertheless, it is well settled that before a Magistrate can  be  said
to have taken cognizance of an offence, it is imperative that he  must  have
taken notice of the accusations and applied  his  mind  to  the  allegations
made in the complaint or in the police report or  the  information  received
from a source other than a police report,  as  the  case  may  be,  and  the
material filed therewith. It needs little emphasis that it is only when  the
Magistrate applies his mind  and  is  satisfied  that  the  allegations,  if
proved, would constitute an offence  and  decides  to  initiate  proceedings
against the alleged offender, that it can be positively stated that  he  has
taken cognizance of the offence. Cognizance is in regard to the offence  and
not the offender."
                                                            (emphasis added)
Even here this Court has  stated  in  uncontroverted  terms  that  once  the
Magistrate applies his mind to the offence alleged and decides  to  initiate
proceedings against the alleged offender, it  can  be  stated  that  he  has
taken cognizance of the offence and by way of  reiteration.  It  is  further
stated that cognizance is in regard to the offence  and  not  the  offender.
This decision, therefore, reinforces the position that cognizance is  mainly
of the offence and not the offender.
In R.R. Chari (supra), in paragraph 8, this Court made  it  clear  that  the
word 'cognizance' is used by the  Court  to  indicate  the  point  when  the
Magistrate or a Judge first takes judicial notice of an offence.  Therefore,
primarily cognizance of an offence takes place when  a  Judicial  Magistrate
applies his mind and takes judicial notice of the offence. In fact  that  is
what has been even statutorily stipulated under Section 190(1) of Cr.P.C.
In Darshan Singh Ram  Kishan   (supra),  in  paragraph  8,  with  particular
reference to Section 190, this Court has held as under:
"8. As provided by  Section  190  of  the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  a
Magistrate may take cognizance of an offence either, (a)  upon  receiving  a
complaint, or (b) upon a police report, or  (c)  upon  information  received
from a person other than a police officer or even upon his  own  information
or suspicion that such an offence has been  committed.  As  has  often  been
held, taking cognizance does not involve any formal action or indeed  action
of any kind but occurs as soon as a  Magistrate  applies  his  mind  to  the
suspected commission of an offence. Cognizance, therefore, takes place at  a
point when a Magistrate first takes judicial notice of an offence.  This  is
the position whether the Magistrate takes cognizance  of  an  offence  on  a
complaint, or on a police report, or upon  information  of  a  person  other
than a police officer. Therefore, when a Magistrate takes cognizance  of  an
offence upon a police report, prima facie he  does  so  of  the  offence  or
offences disclosed in such report."
                                                            (emphasis added)
The above passage referred to  in  the  said  decision  makes  the  position
explicitly clear that  cognizance  would  take  place  at  a  point  when  a
Magistrate first takes judicial notice of the offence either on a  complaint
or on a police report or upon information of a person other than the  police
officer.  Taking judicial notice is nothing but pursuing the report  of  the
police officer, proceeding further on that report by opening  the  file  and
thereafter taking further steps to ensure the presence of  the  accused  and
all other consequential steps including at a later stage depending upon  the
nature of offence alleged to pass necessary order of committal to  Court  of
In  Salap  Service  Station  (supra),  the  question  as  to  what  is   the
implication of a supplementary report  filed  by  the  investigating  agency
under Section 173(8) Cr.P.C. was considered. While dealing  with  the  same,
it has been stated as under in paragraph 2:
2.....It may be  mentioned  here  that  in  the  supplementary  charge-sheet
allegations are to the effect that there was violation of  Direction  12  of
the Control Order. The question of taking cognizance does not arise at  this
stage since cognizance has already been taken  on  the  basis  of  the  main
charge-sheet. What all Section 173(8) lays down is  that  the  investigating
agency can carry on further investigation in respect of the offence after  a
report under sub-section (2) has been filed. The further  investigation  may
also disclose some fresh offences but connected with the  transaction  which
is the subject-matter of the earlier report..............The purpose of sub-
section (8) of Section 173 CrPC is to enable  the  investigating  agency  to
gather further evidence and that cannot  be  frustrated.  If  the  materials
incorporated in the supplementary charge-sheet do not make out any  offence,
the question of framing any other charge on the basis of that may not  arise
but in case the court frames a charge it is open to the accused  persons  to
seek discharge in respect of that offence also as they have done already  in
respect of the offence disclosed in the main charge-sheet. The rejection  of
the report outright at that stage in our view is not correct."
                                                            (emphasis added)
The above statement of law  with  particular  reference  to  Section  173(8)
Cr.P.C. makes the position much more clear to the effect that the filing  of
the supplementary charge-sheet does  not  and  will  not  amount  to  taking
cognizance by the Court afresh against whomsoever again  with  reference  to
the very same offence.  What  all  it  states  is  that  by  virtue  of  the
supplementary charge-sheet further offence may also be  alleged  and  charge
to that effect may be filed. In fact, going by  Section  173(8)  it  can  be
stated like in our case by  way  of  supplementary  charge-sheet  some  more
accused may also be added to the offence with reference to which  cognizance
is already taken by the Judicial Magistrate.  While  cognizance  is  already
taken  of  the  main  offence  against  the  accused  already  arrayed,  the
supplementary charge-sheet  may  provide  scope  for  taking  cognizance  of
additional charges or against more accused with  reference  to  the  offence
already taken cognizance of and the  only  scope  would  be  for  the  added
offender to seek for discharge after the filing of the supplementary charge-
sheet against the said offender.
In CREF Finance Limited (supra) paragraph 10 is relevant wherein this  Court
has held as under:
10......Cognizance is taken of the offence and  not  of  the  offender  and,
therefore, once the court on perusal of the complaint is satisfied that  the
complaint discloses the commission of an offence and there is no  reason  to
reject the complaint at that stage, and proceeds further in the  matter,  it
must be held to have  taken  cognizance  of  the  offence.  One  should  not
confuse taking of cognizance with issuance of process. Cognizance  is  taken
at the initial stage when the Magistrate peruses the complaint with  a  view
to ascertain whether the commission of any offence is disclosed......"
                                                            (emphasis added)
The said statement of law reinforces the legal position that  cognizance  is
always of the offence and not the offender and once the  Magistrate  applies
his judicial mind with  reference  to  the  commission  of  an  offence  the
cognizance is taken at that very moment.
To the very  same  effect  is  the  judgment  in  Pastor  P.  Raju  (supra).
Paragraph 13 is relevant for our purpose, which reads as under:
"13. It is necessary to mention here that taking cognizance  of  an  offence
is not the same thing as issuance of process. Cognizance  is  taken  at  the
initial stage when the Magistrate applies his judicial  mind  to  the  facts
mentioned in a complaint or to a police report or upon information  received
from any other person that an offence has been committed.  The  issuance  of
process is at a subsequent stage when after considering the material  placed
before it the court decides to proceed against the offenders against whom  a
prima facie case is made out."
                                                            (emphasis added)
The above principle has been  reiterated  again  in  Videocon  International
Ltd. (supra) in paragraph 19. Paragraph 19 can be usefully extracted,  which
reads as under:
"19. The expression "cognizance" has not been defined in the Code.  But  the
word (cognizance) is of indefinite import. It  has  no  esoteric  or  mystic
significance in criminal law. It merely means "become  aware  of"  and  when
used with reference to a court or a Judge, it connotes "to  take  notice  of
judicially". It indicates the point when  a  court  or  a  Magistrate  takes
judicial notice of an offence with  a  view  to  initiating  proceedings  in
respect of such offence said to have been committed by someone."
                                                            (emphasis added)
In Mona Panwar (supra) at paragraph 19 what is meant by 'taking  cognizance'
has been explained as under:
"19. The phrase "taking cognizance of" means cognizance of  an  offence  and
not of the offender. Taking cognizance does not involve  any  formal  action
or indeed action of any kind but occurs as soon as a Magistrate applies  his
mind to the suspected  commission  of  an  offence.  Cognizance,  therefore,
takes place at a point when a Magistrate first takes judicial notice  of  an
offence. This is the position whether the Magistrate takes cognizance of  an
offence on a complaint or on a  police  report  or  upon  information  of  a
person other than a police officer. Before the Magistrate  can  be  said  to
have taken cognizance of an offence under Section 190(1)(b) of the Code,  he
must have not only applied  his  mind  to  the  contents  of  the  complaint
presented before him, but must have done so for the  purpose  of  proceeding
under Section 200 and the provisions following that section.  However,  when
the Magistrate had applied his  mind  only  for  ordering  an  investigation
under Section 156(3) of the Code or issued a warrant  for  the  purposes  of
investigation, he cannot be said to have taken cognizance of an offence."
                                                            (emphasis added)
The above statement of law makes the position amply  clear  that  cognizance
is of an offence and not of the offender,  that  it  does  not  involve  any
formal action and as soon as the Magistrate applies  his  judicial  mind  to
the suspected commission of offence, cognizance takes place.
Again in a recent  decision  of  this  Court  in  Sarah  Mathew  (supra)  in
paragraph 34, the position has been reiterated as under:
"34. Thus, a Magistrate takes cognizance when he applies his mind  or  takes
judicial notice of an offence with  a  view  to  initiating  proceedings  in
respect of offence which is  said  to  have  been  committed.  This  is  the
special connotation acquired by the term  "cognizance"  and  it  has  to  be
given the same meaning wherever  it  appears  in  Chapter  XXXVI.  It  bears
repetition to state that  taking  cognizance  is  entirely  an  act  of  the
Magistrate. Taking cognizance may be delayed because of several reasons.  It
may be delayed because of systemic reasons. It may  be  delayed  because  of
the Magistrate's personal reasons."
Therefore, having regard to the overwhelming  decisions  of  this  Court  in
having repeatedly expressed what is meant by cognizance and in  majority  of
the decisions by making specific reference to  Section  190,  we  are  clear
that the interpretation has to be to the cognizance of  the  offence  to  be
taken note of by the Judicial Magistrate as  prescribed  under  Section  190
and if it takes place that would satisfy  and  fulfill  the  requirement  of
cognizance of offence by the filing of more  than  one  charge-sheet  before
the Competent Court as stipulated in Section 2(1)(d) of MCOCA.
Having considered the  scope  of  the  definition  of  "continuing  unlawful
activity" as defined under Section 2(1)(d) with reference to  the  competent
court and the cognizance of more than one earlier case, when  we  apply  the
said principles to the facts of this case, as noted in the initial  part  of
this judgment, the two earlier cases were the bomb  blast  in  Parbhani  and
Jalna. In Parbhani, the occurrence was on 21.11.2003 and in Jalna it was  on
27.08.2004. In the Parbhani case, the first charge-sheet was filed as  early
as on 07.09.2006 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate and in  Jalna  it  was
filed on 30.09.2006 before the concerned Chief Judicial  Magistrate  and  in
both the  cases,  cognizance  was  taken  and  the  proceedings  before  the
respective Magistrates concerned were continued.  Therefore,  having  regard
to our conclusion that the  cognizance  taken  by  the  Judicial  Magistrate
under Section 190(1) of Cr.P.C. based on the  police  report  under  Section
173(2)(i) of Cr.P.C. the same would fulfill the requirement of  'cognizance'
as well as, the 'competent court'.  It will  have  to  be,  therefore,  held
that to that extent,  the  definition  under  Section  2(1)(d)  relating  to
"continuing unlawful activity" in respect  of  more  than  one  case  of  an
offence punishable for more than three years is  fully  satisfied.  Once  we
come to the said conclusion, we do not  find  any  substance  in  the  third
submission of the appellants that cognizance by competent court  would  only
mean cognizance of such offences  which  can  be  dealt  with  only  by  the
Sessions Court and  not  by  a  Judicial  Magistrate.  Therefore,  the  said
submission that the cognizance was taken by Sessions Court much later  after
its committal (i.e.) in the case of Parbhani  only  on  29.04.2009  that  is
after the bomb blast in Malegaon and thereby the definition  of  'continuing
unlawful activity' in respect of more than one case  under  Section  2(1)(d)
is not satisfied  cannot  be  accepted.   The  said  submission,  therefore,
deserves to be rejected.
The next submission made on behalf of the appellants was that  in  order  to
constitute the earlier  two  offences  to  fall  within  the  definition  of
'continuing unlawful activity' for invoking the provisions  of  MCOCA  after
the third occurrence, the involvement of the accused must have been  by  the
same gang. In other words, even if it were to be held that a  member  of  an
'organized crime syndicate' singly or jointly participated or on  behalf  of
an 'organized crime syndicate' with reference to  such  participation  taken
place, what is to be ensured is that in all the three cases the  same  gang,
namely, the 'organized crime syndicate' must have been  involved.  Based  on
the said contention it was submitted that in the case on hand after A-7  was
arrested on 02.11.2008 he was produced in Parbhani case  on  11.11.2008  and
supplementary charge-sheet was filed against him on 13.11.2008 and in  Jalna
case a supplementary charge-sheet was filed on 15.11.2008 while none of  the
other accused had any role to play either in Parbhani or in Jalna,  nor  was
the so-called 'Abhinav Bharat' was involved  in  either  Parbhani  or  Jalna
occurrences. The contention was that  though  A-7  was  implicated  both  in
Parbhani and Jalna such implication was not in pursuance of his  role  as  a
member of an 'organized crime syndicate' pertaining to Malegaon  bomb  blast
nor was the position that the gang  involved  in  Malegaon  blast  was  also
responsible for the bomb blast in Parbhani  and  Jalna.  It  is,  therefore,
contended that even as regards to A-7  he  only  alleged  to  have  gathered
certain materials and procured at the request  of  one  Devle  who  was  the
prime accused in Parbhani and Jalna. It was contended that even as  per  the
counter affidavit of the second respondent herein there was no  nexus  shown
for the involvement of any of the accused in the Malegaon  bomb  blast  case
to do anything with Parbhani or Jalna  bomb  blast  either  individually  or
jointly as a member of gang or on behalf of the gang.
In this context, reliance was placed upon the  decision  in  Lalit  Somdatta
Nagpal & Anr. (supra). A similar contention was raised before this Court  in
that case to the effect that isolated incidents spread over a period  of  10
years  involving  different  types  of  offences  would  not   attract   the
provisions of MCOCA and that such activity must be such as to  have  a  link
from the first to the last offence alleged to have  been  undertaken  in  an
organized manner by an organized crime syndicate. The  contention  was  that
continuing unlawful activity would necessarily  mean  continuous  engagement
in unlawful activity where there would  be  a  live  link  between  all  the
different offences alleged. The said contention was  refuted  on  behalf  of
the State in the said case by  contending  that  no  live  link  need  exist
between the different cases for the  application  of  MCOCA  and  that  such
nexus theory was not contemplated by the  legislature.  While  dealing  with
the said contention, this Court in the facts of that case held as  under  in
paragraph 63:
"63. As has been repeatedly emphasised on behalf of  all  the  parties,  the
offence under MCOCA must comprise continuing unlawful activity  relating  to
organised crime undertaken by an individual singly or jointly, either  as  a
member of the organised crime syndicate or on behalf of  such  syndicate  by
use of coercive or other  unlawful  means  with  the  objective  of  gaining
pecuniary benefits or gaining undue economic or other advantage for  himself
or for any other person or for promoting insurgency. In  the  instant  case,
both Lalit Somdatta Nagpal and Anil Somdatta Nagpal have been shown to  have
been involved in several cases of a similar nature which are  pending  trial
or are under investigation.  As  far  as  Kapil  Nagpal  is  concerned,  his
involvement has been shown only in respect of CR No. 25 of 2003 of  Rasayani
Police Station, Raigad, under Sections 468, 420 and 34  of  the  Penal  Code
and Sections 3, 7, 9 and 10 of the Essential Commodities Act. In  our  view,
the facts as disclosed justified the application of the provisions of  MCOCA
to Lalit Nagpal and Anil Nagpal.  However,  the  said  ingredients  are  not
available as far as Kapil Nagpal is concerned, since he has not  been  shown
to be involved in any continuing  unlawful  activity.  Furthermore,  in  the
approval that  was  given  by  the  Special  Inspector  General  of  Police,
Kolhapur Range, granting approval  to  the  Deputy  Commissioner  of  Police
(Enforcement), Crime Branch, CID, Mumbai  to  commence  investigation  under
Section 23(1) of MCOCA, Kapil Nagpal has not been mentioned. It is  only  at
a later stage with the registering of CR No. 25 of 2003 of  Rasayani  Police
Station, Raigad, that Kapil Nagpal  was  roped  in  with  Lalit  Nagpal  and
Somdatta Nagpal and permission was granted to apply the provisions of  MCOCA
to him as well by order dated 22-8-2005."
                                                       (underlining is ours)
When we refer to the said line of reasoning stated therein, we find that  in
the case of one accused, namely, one Kapil Nagpal, since he  was  not  shown
to be involved in any of the earlier cases, his case required  to  be  dealt
with differently and he  cannot  be  said  to  have  been  involved  in  any
continuing unlawful activity. We do not find any other specific  reason  for
excluding him.
In this context a three Judge Bench decision of  this  Court,  which  throws
much light on  this  issue  is  Ranjitsing  Brahamjeetsing  Sharma  (supra).
Paragraphs 31, 36 and 37 are relevant for our purpose which read as under.
"31. The High Court does not say that the appellant  has  abetted  Telgi  or
had conspired with him. The findings  of  the  High  Court  as  against  the
appellant are attributable to allegations  of  abetting  Kamat  and  Mulani.
Both Kamat and Mulani were public servants. They may or  may  not  have  any
direct role to play as regards commission of an organised crime  but  unless
a [pic]nexus with an  accused  who  is  a  member  of  the  organised  crime
syndicate or an offence in the nature of  organised  crime  is  established,
only by showing some alleged indulgence to Kamat or  Mulani,  the  appellant
cannot be said to have conspired  or  abetted  commission  of  an  organised
crime. Prima facie, therefore, we are of  the  view  that  Section  3(2)  of
MCOCA is not attracted in the instant case.
36. Does this statute require that before a person is released on bail,  the
court, albeit prima facie, must come  to  the  conclusion  that  he  is  not
guilty of such offence? Is it necessary for  the  court  to  record  such  a
finding? Would there be any machinery available to the  court  to  ascertain
that once the accused is enlarged on bail, he would not commit  any  offence
37. Such findings are required to  be  recorded  only  for  the  purpose  of
arriving at an objective finding on the basis of materials  on  record  only
for grant of bail and for no other purpose."
                                                            (emphasis added)
A reading of paragraph 31 shows that in order to  invoke  MCOCA  even  if  a
person may or  may  not  have  any  direct  role  to  play  as  regards  the
commission of an organized crime, if a nexus either with an accused  who  is
a member of an 'organized crime  syndicate'  or  with  the  offence  in  the
nature of an  'organized  crime'  is  established  that  would  attract  the
invocation of Section 3(2) of MCOCA. Therefore, even if  one  may  not  have
any direct role to play relating to the commission of an 'organized  crime',
but when the nexus of such person with an accused who is  a  member  of  the
'organized crime syndicate' or such nexus is related to the offence  in  the
nature of 'organized crime' is established by showing his  involvement  with
the accused or the offence in the nature of such 'organized crime', that  by
itself would attract the provisions of MCOCA. The said statement of  law  by
this Court, therefore, makes the position clear as to in what  circumstances
MCOCA can be applied in respect of a person depending upon  his  involvement
in an organized crime in the manner  set  out  in  the  said  paragraph.  In
paragraphs 36 and 37, it was made further clear that such an analysis to  be
made to ascertain  the  invocation  of  MCOCA  against  a  person  need  not
necessarily go to the extent for holding a person  guilty  of  such  offence
and that even a finding to that  extent  need  not  be  recorded.  But  such
findings have to be necessarily recorded for the purpose of arriving  at  an
objective finding on the basis of materials on record only for  the  limited
purpose of grant of bail and not for any other purpose. Such  a  requirement
is, therefore, imminent under Section 21(4)(b) of MCOCA.
Having regard to the said legal position with reference to  the  requirement
to  be  fulfilled  in  respect  of  an  'organized  crime'  with  particular
reference to the past two instances and the present one  in  order  to  find
out  as  to  whether  a  person  was  involved  in  a  'continuing  unlawful
activity', when we refer to the  facts  before  us,  in  the  case  on  hand
insofar as A-7 Rakesh Dattaray Dhawade is concerned,  he  has  been  charge-
sheeted in Parbhani,  Jalna  as  well  as,  the  Malegaon  bomb  blast.  The
materials available on record disclose that he furnished  certain  materials
at the asking of the prime accused involved in  Parbhani  and  Jalna,  which
also related to bomb blasts in both the places. Going  by  the  charge-sheet
filed against A-7 in Malegaon his direct involvement  has  been  alleged.  A
conspectus consideration of the above facts discloses that  insofar  as  A-7
was concerned, he had a  nexus  with  the  member  of  an  'organized  crime
syndicate' and also had every nexus with the offence in  the  nature  of  an
'organized crime' of the two earlier cases, namely, Parbhani and  Jalna  and
also direct involvement in the present  bomb  blast  at  Malegaon.  In  such
circumstances, there is no difficulty in coming  to  a  definite  conclusion
that insofar as,  A-7 is concerned, his activity and involvement in all  the
three occurrences, namely, Parbhani, Jalna and Malegaon disclose nexus  with
the crime and also with the other accused involved in the crime and  thereby
the satisfaction of the definition of 'continuing unlawful activity'  of  an
'organized  crime'  on  behalf  of  an  'organized   crime   syndicate'   is
satisfactorily shown.  In such circumstances, by virtue of  Section  21  (4)
of MCOCA he is not entitled for the grant of bail and that he does not  fall
within the excepted category stipulated in sub-clause  (a)  or  (b)  of  the
said sub-Section (4) of Section 21.
Having stated the said position relating to A-7, when we come  to  the  case
of others, there is no dispute that in respect of  other  appellants,  their
involvement is with reference to the present  occurrence,  namely,  Malegaon
bomb blast. Admittedly they  are  not  proceeded  against  for  the  offence
relating to Parbhani and Jalna.  But still at  the  present  juncture,  with
the materials available on record as on date, we are not in  a  position  to
ascertain as to the involvement of the appellants either  by  way  of  their
nexus with any accused who is a member of an 'organized crime syndicate'  or
such nexus with the offence  of  an  'organized  crime'  which  pertains  to
Parbhani and Jalna. We cannot also rule out the possibility of the  evidence
based on the investigation by  the  prosecuting  agency  to  come  out  with
reliable materials in support of such nexus to be shown with an  accused  or
with the crime in respect of the earlier two  cases,  namely,  Parbhani  and
Jalna. We cannot, therefore, declare to  the  extent  as  was  done  by  the
Special Judge in the order  dated  31.07.2009  to  straightway  reach  at  a
conclusion to the effect that MCOCA was not attracted and,  therefore,  they
should be discharged.
But, for the purpose of the  requirement  under  Section  21(4)  (b)  having
regard to the absence of any material as on date to disclose any nexus  with
the accused of an 'organized crime syndicate' or with  the  offence  in  the
nature of an 'organized crime', in Parbhani and  Jalna  as  of  now  we  can
state that in respect  of  appellants  other  than  A-7  i.e.  appellant  in
Criminal Appeal No.1971/2010, their application for bail can  be  considered
by the Special Court.  Therefore, on this issue, namely, in all  cases  same
gang must be involved, our answer is to the above limited  extent  based  on
the earlier statement  of  law  as  declared  in  Ranjitsing  Brahamjeetsing
Sharma (supra) in paragraph 31.
With that when we come to the next submission,  namely,  that  in  order  to
characterize the past occurrence as well as the  present  occurrence  as  an
'organized crime' falling under section 2 (1) (e) of MCOCA, in each of  such
occurrence, violence should have played a key role and  that  such  violence
etc. should have been for  pecuniary  gain.   The  submission  was  made  on
behalf of the appellants that there was no material to show that any of  the
appellants had any pecuniary advantage from  anybody.   The  contention  was
that all the attributes of Section 2(1)(e),  namely,  an  'organized  crime'
must be present in all the three cases.  It was further  contended  that  in
the occurrence relating to Parbhani and Jalna, there was  no  allegation  of
pecuniary advantage and they were all just mere cases of violence.  It  was,
also contended that 'promoting insurgency' was also not  the  specific  case
of the prosecution in all the three cases, even assuming  it  may  arise  in
Malegaon blast, the same was not present in Parbhani or Jalna.
To appreciate the said contention, it will be necessary to make  a  detailed
reference to Section 2(1)(e) of MCOCA.  As far as the nature of activity  is
concerned, in Section 2(1)(e), it is stated  that  'organized  crime'  means
continuing unlawful activity by use of violence or  threat  of  violence  or
intimidation or coercion or other unlawful means with the object of  gaining
pecuniary benefits or gaining undue economic or other advantage for  himself
or for any other person or for promoting insurgency. If we make  a  detailed
reference to the said provision, the use of violence etc. should  have  been
carried out with the object of either  gaining  pecuniary  benefits  or  for
gaining undue economic or other advantage  for  oneself  or  for  any  other
person or for promoting insurgency.  We find that the violent activity  need
not necessarily be for  pecuniary  advantage  in  all  acts  of  'continuing
unlawful activity'.  Indulging in such violent activity can be  for  gaining
pecuniary advantage or  for  gaining  any  other  undue  economic  or  other
advantage or for promoting insurgency.  Therefore, at the  very  outset,  we
do not find any scope to interpret Section 2(1)(e),  namely,  an  'organized
crime' to mean that in order to come within the  said  expression  indulging
in such violent or other activity should always be for pecuniary  gain.   On
the other hand, we can safely hold that such indulgence in violent  activity
can be either for pecuniary gain or for economic advantage or for any  other
advantage either for the person who indulged in such  activity  or  for  any
other person or for promoting insurgency.  In that  respect,  we  find  that
expected benefit for indulging in any violent or related activity  could  be
for any of the above purposes independently and one such purpose may be  for
promoting insurgency.
When once we are able to state the definition  of  'organized  crime'  under
Section 2(1) (e) with such clear precision, the other question  is  what  is
meant by 'promoting insurgency'.  In fact, the said expression  has  already
been considered by some of the judgments of this Court, and,  therefore,  we
can  make  useful  reference  to  those  judgments  to  understand  what  is
insurgency and whether there was any act  of  insurgency  prevalent  in  the
case on hand when the alleged activity of violence etc. alleged against  the
appellants. The dictionary meaning of expression 'insurgent' is  raising  an
active revolt  or  a  revolutionary.  Therefore,  going  by  the  dictionary
meaning, promoting insurgency would mean creating a revolution  and  thereby
disturb the peaceful atmosphere.  In fact, in the decision of this Court  in
Zameer Ahmad Latifur Rehman Sheikh (supra) a  reference  has  been  made  to
this very expression and has been  dealt  with  in  a  detailed  fashion  in
paragraphs 26 to 29.  We can  usefully  refer  to  the  said  paragraphs  to
understand the expression insurgency.  Paragraphs 26 to 29 are as under:
"26. The term "insurgency" has not been defined either under  MCOCA  or  any
other statute. The word "insurgency" does not  find  mention  in  UAPA  even
after the 2004 and 2008 Amendments. The definition as submitted by Mr  Salve
also does not directly or conclusively  define  the  term  "insurgency"  and
thus reliance cannot be placed upon it. The appellants  would  contend  that
the term refers to rising in active revolt or rebellion. Webster defines  it
as a condition of revolt against the Government  that  does  not  reach  the
proportion of an organised revolution.
27. In Sarbananda Sonowal v.  Union  of  India  this  Court  has  held  that
insurgency is undoubtedly a  serious  form  of  internal  disturbance  which
causes grave threat to the life of people, creates panic situation and  also
hampers the growth and economic prosperity of the State.
28. We feel inclined to adopt  the  aforesaid  definition  for  the  current
proceedings as there  does  not  appear  to  exist  any  other  satisfactory
29. Although the term "insurgency" defies  a  precise  definition,  yet,  it
could be understood to mean and cover breakdown of peace and tranquility  as
also a grave disturbance of public order so as to endanger the  security  of
the State and its sovereignty."
                                                       [pic](Emphasis added)
It has been more succinctly described in paragraphs 45 to 47 which can  also
be usefully referred to:
"45. Now that we have examined under what circumstances a State law  can  be
said  to  be  encroaching  upon  the  law-making  powers  of   the   Central
Government, we may proceed to evaluate the current issue on merits.  Let  us
once again examine the provision at the core of this matter:
"2. (1)(e) 'organised crime' means any continuing unlawful  activity  by  an
individual, singly or jointly, either as a  member  of  an  organised  crime
syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate, by use of violence  or  threat  of
violence or intimidation or coercion, or  other  unlawful  means,  with  the
objective of gaining pecuniary benefits, or gaining undue economic or  other
advantage for himself or any other person or promoting insurgency;"
After examining this provision at length, we have  come  to  the  conclusion
that the definition of "organised crime" contained  in  Section  2(1)(e)  of
MCOCA makes it clear that the  phrase  "promoting  insurgency"  is  used  to
denote a possible driving force for "organised crime". It  is  evident  that
MCOCA does not punish "insurgency"  per  se,  but  punishes  those  who  are
guilty of running a crime organisation, one of the motives of which  may  be
the promotion of insurgency.
46. We may also examine the Statement of Objects and Reasons to support  the
conclusion arrived at by us.  The  relevant  portion  of  the  Statement  of
Objects and Reasons is extracted hereinbelow:
"1. Organised crime has for quite some years now come up as a  very  serious
threat to our society. It knows no national boundaries  and  is  fuelled  by
illegal wealth generated  by  contract,  killing,  extortion,  smuggling  in
contrabands, illegal trade in narcotics, kidnappings for ransom,  collection
of protection money and money laundering, etc. The illegal wealth and  black
money generated by the organised crime being very huge, it has  had  serious
adverse effect on our economy. It  was  seen  that  the  organised  criminal
syndicates  made  a  common  cause   with   terrorist   gangs   and   foster
narcoterrorism which extends  beyond  the  national  boundaries.  There  was
reason to believe that organised criminal gangs have been operating  in  the
State and thus, there was immediate need to curb their activities.
2. The existing legal framework i.e. the penal and procedural laws  and  the
adjudicatory system are found to be rather inadequate  to  curb  or  control
the menace of organised crime. The Government  has,  therefore,  decided  to
enact a special law with stringent and  deterrent  provisions  including  in
certain  circumstances  power  to  intercept  wire,   electronic   or   oral
communication to control the menace of organised crime."
47. We find no merit in the contention that MCOCA, in any  way,  deals  with
punishing insurgency directly. We  are  of  the  considered  view  that  the
legislation only deals with "insurgency"  indirectly  only  to  bolster  the
[pic]definition of "organised crime". However, even if it  be  assumed  that
"insurgency" has a larger role to play than  pointed  out  by  us  above  in
MCOCA, we are of the considered view that the  term  "promoting  insurgency"
as contemplated under Section 2(1)(e) of MCOCA comes within the  concept  of
public order."
                                                            (Emphasis added)
Therefore, 'insurgency' has  been  understood  to  mean  raising  an  active
revolt or rebellion in the common parlance. It is also stated that it  could
be understood to mean and cover breakdown of peace and tranquility  as  also
a grave disturbance of public order so as to endanger the  security  of  the
State and its  sovereignty.  While  making  specific  reference  to  Section
2(1)(e), it was pointed out that MCOCA though  does  not  punish  insurgency
per se, punishes those who are guilty of running a  crime  organization  and
one of the motive of which may be the promotion of  insurgency.   Therefore,
it is not necessary that promoting insurgency should  always  be  linked  to
pecuniary advantage. Whenever an organized gang indulges in a  violent  act,
such indulgence in  violence  or  threat  of  violence  or  intimidation  or
coercion or other unlawful means can be for promoting an insurgency.
In the light of such line of thinking already expressed by this  Court  with
particular reference to Section  2(1)(e),  we  do  not  find  any  different
meaning to be attributed to the definition of 'organized crime',  much  less
to the extent to which the appellants seek to interpret the said  definition
and state that the indulgence  in  any  violent  and  related  activity  for
promoting insurgency, the element of pecuniary advantage should be  present.
 We, therefore, reject such a contention and  hold  that  indulging  in  any
violent or other related activity  by  an  organized  gang  and  thereby  an
effort to promote insurgency i.e. to damage the  peace  and  tranquility  in
the State is made, that by itself would fall within the four corners of  the
definition of "organized crime" under Section 2(1)(e).
In the light of our above conclusions on the  various  submissions,  we  are
convinced that in respect of the appellant in Criminal Appeal  No.1971/2010,
namely, A-7, there is no scope even  for  the  limited  purpose  of  Section
21(4)(b) to hold that application of MCOCA is doubtful.  We have  held  that
the said appellant A-7 had every nexus with all the  three  crimes,  namely,
Parbhani, Jalna and Malegaon and, therefore,  the  bar  for  grant  of  bail
under Section 21 would clearly operate against him and  there  is  no  scope
for  granting  any  bail.   Insofar  as  the  rest  of  the  appellants  are
concerned,  for  the  purpose  of  invoking  Section  21(4)(b),  namely,  to
consider their claim for bail, it can be held that for the present  juncture
with the available materials on record, it  is  not  possible  to  show  any
nexus  of  the  appellants  who  have  been  proceeded  against  for   their
involvement in Malegaon blast with the two earlier cases,  namely,  Parbhani
and Jalna. There is considerable doubt about their involvement  in  Parbhani
and Jalna and, therefore, they are entitled for their bail  applications  to
be considered on merits.
When once we are able to  steer  clear  of  the  said  position,  the  other
question to be considered is the grant of bail on its own merits. For  which
purpose, the submission of Mr.  Mariarputham,  learned  senior  counsel  who
appeared for the State of Maharashtra and NIA based on the  decision  relied
upon by him in State of U.P. Through CBI v. Amarmani  Tripathi  -  2005  (8)
SCC 21 should be kept in mind, in particular paragraph 18,  which  reads  as
"18. It is well settled that the matters to be considered in an  application
for bail are (i) whether there is any prima facie or  reasonable  ground  to
believe that the accused had committed the offence; (ii) nature and  gravity
of the charge; (iii) severity of the punishment in the event of  conviction;
(iv) danger of the accused absconding or fleeing, if released on  bail;  (v)
character, behaviour, means, position and  standing  of  the  accused;  (vi)
likelihood of the offence being repeated; (vii) reasonable  apprehension  of
the witnesses being tampered with; and (viii) danger, of course, of  justice
being thwarted by grant of bail [see Prahlad Singh Bhati v. NCT,  Delhi  and
Gurcharan Singh v. State (Delhi Admn.)]. While a vague allegation  that  the
accused may tamper with the evidence or witnesses may not  be  a  ground  to
refuse bail, if the accused is of such character that his mere  presence  at
large would intimidate the witnesses or if there is material  to  show  that
he will use his liberty to subvert justice  or  tamper  with  the  evidence,
then bail will be refused. We may also refer  to  the  following  principles
relating to grant or refusal of bail stated  in  Kalyan  Chandra  Sarkar  v.
Rajesh Ranjan: (SCC pp. 535-36, para 11)
11. The law in regard to grant or refusal of bail is very well settled.  The
court granting bail should exercise its discretion  in  a  judicious  manner
and not as a matter of course. Though  at  the  stage  of  granting  bail  a
detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation  of  the  merit
of the case need not be undertaken, there is a  need  to  indicate  in  such
orders reasons for  prima  facie  concluding  why  bail  was  being  granted
particularly where the accused is charged  of  having  committed  a  serious
offence. Any order devoid of such reasons would suffer from  non-application
of mind. It is also necessary for the court granting bail to consider  among
other circumstances, the following factors also before granting  bail;  they
(a) The nature of accusation and the  severity  of  punishment  in  case  of
conviction and the nature of supporting evidence.
(b) Reasonable apprehension of tampering with the  witness  or  apprehension
of threat to the complainant.
(c) Prima facie satisfaction of the court in support  of  the  charge.  (See
Ram Govind Upadhyay v. Sudarshan Singh and Puran v. Rambilas.)"
Even the other contentions submitted by the learned senior counsel that  the
appellants are not entitled for bail, are all matters which the  prosecuting
agency will have to place before the Special Court for  consideration  while
considering the appellants' application for bail. For the same  reason,  the
various other contentions raised on behalf  of  the  appellant  in  Criminal
Appeal Nos.1969-70/2010 as well as  the  appeal  arising  out  of  SLP(Crl.)
No.8132 of 2010 by making reference to their  personal  grievances  are  all
matters  which  will  have  to  be  placed  before  the  Special  Judge  for
consideration. We are not expressing any opinion on  those  aspects  and  we
leave it for the Special Judge to consider the bail  application  on  merits
and pass appropriate orders.
Accordingly, on question No.(a) in paragraph 35, we hold that  the  judgment
of the Division Bench in holding that cognizance is of the offence  and  not
of the offender is perfectly justified and the same does not  call  for  any
interference. Therefore,  Criminal  Appeal  Nos.1969-70  of  2010,  Criminal
Appeal No.1971 of 2010, Criminal Appeal Nos.1994-98 of 2010, appeal  arising
out of SLP(Crl) No.8132 of 2010  and  Criminal  Appeal  No.58  of  2011  are
dismissed. As far as the order dated 30.12.2010, rejecting bail,  passed  by
the learned Special Judge, which was also confirmed by  the  learned  Single
Judge of the Bombay High Court  by order dated 09.11.2011 in  Criminal  Bail
Application No.333 of 2011 with Criminal Application No.464 of 2011  of  the
appellant in appeals arising out of SLP  (Crl.)  Nos.9370-71  of  2011,  the
said orders are set aside with the observation that there  is  enough  scope
to doubt as to the application of  MCOCA  under  Section  21(4)(b)  for  the
purpose of grant of bail and consequently the Special Judge is  directed  to
consider  the  application  for  bail  on  merits  keeping   in   mind   the
observations in paragraphs 100 and 101 of this  judgment  and  pass  orders.
Consequently, the appeals arising out of SLP(Crl.) Nos.9370-71 of  2011  are
partly allowed. The order impugned in these appeals is  set  aside  and  the
application for bail in Bail Application No.42 of 2008 is  restored  to  the
file of the Special Judge for passing orders on merits. Similarly,  for  the
reasons stated in paragraph  99,  we  hold  that  the  appellant  in  appeal
arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.8132 of 2010  is  also  entitled  for  the  same
relief as is granted to the appellant for consideration for  grant  of  bail
in the appeals arising out of SLP(Crl.) Nos.9370-71 of 2011. We thus  answer
question No.(b) of paragraph 35 and the trial Court is, therefore,  directed
to apply the same principle and consider the  bail  application  pending  or
filed afresh, if so advised, by the appellant in the appeal arising  out  of
SLP(Crl.) No.8132 of 2010 and pass orders on merits. Consequently,  Criminal
Appeal No.1971 of 2010, Criminal Appeal Nos.1994-98  of  2010  and  Criminal
Appeal No.58 of 2011 are dismissed.
Since the occurrence is of the year 2008 and nearly seven  years  have  gone
by, it is imperative that the  Special  Court  commence  the  trial  at  the
earliest and conclude the same expeditiously.   We  direct  the  Prosecuting
Agency to ensure that the necessary evidence i.e. oral, documentary as  well
as other form of evidence placed before the  Court  to  enable  the  Special
Court to commence the trial early and conclude the same  expeditiously.   It
is stated that no officer has been posted for the Special Court as on  date.
 We, therefore, request the Chief Justice of the High  Court  of  Bombay  to
pass appropriate orders either for posting  these  cases  before  a  learned
Judge by way of special order or appoint  a  Presiding  Officer  exclusively
for deciding these cases in order to ensure speedy trial.   We  also  direct
the  Presiding  Officer  of  the  Special  Court  to  dispose  of  the  bail
applications expeditiously, preferably within one month  from  the  date  of
his/her assumption of Office as Special Judge.  The Registry is directed  to
transmit the records forthwith.
Since, we have not heard arguments on the question as to the  claim  of  NIA
in seeking custody covered by SLP (Crl.) No.9303  of  2011  and  SLP  (Crl.)
No.9369 of 2011 the same are delinked and shall be listed in due course.
                              [Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla]
                           [Abhay Manohar Sapre]
New Delhi;
April 15, 2015

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