A businessman has been sentenced to three years in jail for duping silk traders of lakhs of rupees by a Delhi court which pulled up a police official for conducting the investigation in a lackadaisical manner. The court allowed Delhi Police Crime Branch's appeal and convicted the man, who was earlier acquitted by a magisterial court, saying he deceived the silk suppliers in a "pre- determined fradulent manner" and induced them to deliver the fabric costing lakhs of rupees. Special Judge Hemani Malhotra declined the plea of convict Rajat Khanna alias Vikas Kapoor to grant him probation and said he could be given leniency and deserved to be punished in proportion to his crime. It, however, allowed the plea of the Ghaziabad resident to suspend his sentence for a month to enable him to file an appeal before a superior court against the order. "The court cannot lose sight of the fact that the convict in a pre-determined fradulent manner deceived the silk suppliers into believing that he was an exporter by the name of Vishal Kapoor and induced them to deliver silk fabric to the tune of lakhs of rupees, after which he shut his office and disappeared," the judge said. An FIR was lodged in 2004 on a complaint of silk fabric suppliers who alleged that Khanna and his associate Sachin Duggal approached them as silk exporters and supply the fabric to them. Initially, the accused and his associate paid them in cash for the fabrics but later stopped making payments.
When the complainants went to the accused' office in old Rajender Nagar in Central Delhi, it was closed, the police said. The court pulled up the investigating officer of the case for conducting the probe in a lackadaisical manner, saying despite overwhelming evidence against Duggal alias Ravi Kapoor, no steps were taken by the IO to arrest and charge sheet him. It said the IO had sought time to file a supplementary charge sheet against Duggal, but nothing was done and even the trial court did not demand any explanation from him. "The IO is, therefore, directed to file supplementary charge sheet qua co?accused Duggal in the interest of justice within three months and file a compliance report qua the same before this court," the judge said. The FIR alleged the complainants came to know that the accused had also cheated other silk suppliers to the tune of lakhs of rupees in a similar manner and they were using fake names of Vishal Kapoor and Ravi Kapoor, whereas their actual names were Rajat Khanna and Sachin Duggal. During the trial, Khanna admitted that he was running a business of selling silk garments and had obtained fabrics from various suppliers. He, however, claimed that he had made part payments for the supplies but could not pay the balance due to variation in silk prices. Public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava sought setting aside of the trial court order, arguing that it was bad in law as Khanna did not deny the fact that he had used a fake name or had obtained telephone connections on forged documents. The judge, while convicting Khanna, said, "I am of the opinion that the prosecution has successfully proved the guilt of the accused that he had conspired with his associate Sachin Duggal to cheat G L Soni, Subhash Bansal, Binod Kumar, Sandeep Sabharwal and Vikram Kumar and in pursuance of the said conspiracy, he had cheated these persons." The court noted that though Khanna compounded the offence of cheating with other suppliers, he never compromised the matter with Subhash Bansal and his payment of Rs 13 lakh was due.