Delhi HC Refuses To Quash FIR Against Man For Taking Donations With PM Modi’s Identity

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday has refused to quash an FIR lodged against a man accused of dishonestly inducing the public in giving donations to his NGO by using the picture and surname of PM Narendra Modi.

The high court stated that the FIR discloses commission of cognizable offences and the police has a statutory right and duty to investigate all aspects.

It stated that the investigation is at a nascent stage and the court, while exercising power under Section 482 of the CrPC, and ought not to thwart an investigation.

The court stated, “The specific allegations have been made that the petitioner is collecting donations/ funds by using the surname of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. The picture of the Hon’ble Prime Minister has also been used whereas admittedly, the petitioner’s surname is not ‘MODI’.”

Justice Amit Mahajan stated in an order passed last month, “The advertisements have been broadcast on YouTube and other national news channels with the picture of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The allegations, therefore, are that the petitioner is dishonestly inducing people to deliver the property in the form of donations. The FIR, therefore, discloses commission of cognizable offence.”

Furthermore, the high court stated that when the allegations disclose commission of a cognizable offence, the court is not required to consider on merits whether the allegations make out a cognizable offence or not at the initial stage and the court has to permit the investigating agency to investigate.

It stated that this was not a fit case for quashing of the FIR.

In September 2023, an FIR was lodged against Pawan Pandey by the special cell of Delhi Police for the alleged offences of cheating for personation and cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property under the IPC.

The FIR was lodged on a complaint by deputy secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs alleging that the petitioner was running an NGO in the name of Modi Charitable Trust and was misrepresenting in the name of Prime Minister Modi.

It has been alleged that the man was using the picture of the PM along with his own photo on news channels for deceiving public at large which was evidenced by an advertisement broadcasting his picture along with the PM and the name of the Trust run by the petitioner.

On February 9, Pandey got arrested and was granted bail on February 26.

He sought quashing of the FIR by arguing that ‘Modi Charitable Trust’ was registered with different social objectives and that the complaint didn’t disclose any criminal offence.

The prosecution opposed the plea, saying the man cheated and dishonestly induced the public by running an NGO in the prime minister’s name. It also submitted that his surname ‘Pandey’ wasn’t in any way connected with the surname ‘Modi’.

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About the Author: Meera Verma