Madurai: Holding the secretary/ treasurer of the Indian Evangelical Church Council (IELC), Baul Sundar for committing offences of cheating by personation and forgery in selling IELC’s several crores worth properties situated in Madurai, the additional district sessions court -VI of Madurai has sentenced him to undergo prison term under various Sections which will run concurrently for one year.
Additional district and sessions judge B Rajavel delivered the judgment by partly allowing the appeal filed against the order of the trial court (judicial magistrate court – V, Madurai) acquitting Sundar from all charges. The prosecution had charged him under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will etc) and 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) of IPC.
The judge said, “The trial court failed to ascertain the documents and evidence in a proper way. Thus, it is of the considered view that the trial court’s order warrants intervention of the appellate court in the case. Thus, the appeal is partly allowed. The charges under Sections 409, 420 and 467 were not proved and charges under Sections 419 and 468 were proved beyond reasonable doubt.”
However, the judge awarded imprisonment of one year each to him for Section 419 and 468, though it could sentence him for three years under Section 419 and sentence him for seven years under Section 468.
The judge said, “The respondent (Baul Sundar) pleads for minimum punishment by claiming that he had not committed any mistake personally and it was the IELC which passed resolution for sale of the properties. Considering his submission and the weight of the case, the court gives him each one year imprisonment for Sections 419 and 468 and orders him to undergo the term concurrently.” This case before facing trial met a round of litigations as the police failed to take up the case earlier.
IELC member Davis Martin looking after the properties of the church found that Sundar in the capacity as treasurer sold the trust properties by way of forgery. When Davis took it to the SS Colony police on November 20, 2010, police rejected his complaint. It led him to go to the high court bench which in turn on December 10 ordered for registration of FIR.
However, police did not act on the court order. It resulted in Davis again approaching the high court bench. Subsequently, police registered an FIR in 2011. When the case had come up for hearing then, police told the court that they on September 15, 2011 closed the case as there was no development in the case. Challenging it, the complainant again filed the case before the high court bench which ordered for reinvestigation of the case. The complaint also filed a petition to transfer the case to some other agency. Thereafter, he gave a private complaint before the judicial magistrate court which took the case on its file.