Mandi: In a recent development, a woman and her legal counsel have been handed down a sentence of six months of simple imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 2,000 each, in connection with an extortion case. The verdict was delivered by Judicial Magistrate First Class Court No. 2, Sarkaghat, presided over by Som Dev, after establishing the case under section 384 of the Indian Penal Code.
The accused have been identified as Lata Devi, wife of Ranjit Singh and a resident of Sanaur (Sari) village in Sarkaghat tehsil, and Sanjay Kumar Verma, son of Jagdish Singh and a resident of Rosso (Sadhot). The court’s decision comes after a comprehensive examination of the evidence and testimonies presented during the proceedings.
As per the prosecution’s account, on July 8, 2014, the complainant, Lal Singh, son of Paras Ram, received a message from Lata Devi, requesting him to visit the office of advocate Sanjay Kumar Verma, as she intended to file a case against him. In response, the complainant, accompanied by others, promptly arrived at the advocate’s office. Both Lata Devi and Sanjay Kumar Verma were present, and they accused the complainant of misconduct, alleging an attempt to molest Lata Devi. They further threatened to lodge a formal complaint unless the complainant paid Rs 3 lakh as hush money.
Given the complainant’s inability to furnish the sum, he reached out to his relative, Ramesh Kumar, who issued a check for Rs 3 lakh in favor of Lata Devi. Subsequently, an agreement was drafted between the involved parties. The complainant later reported the incident to the police. Ramesh Kumar subsequently requested a stop payment on the check, leading to its dishonor. In response, the accused woman filed a molestation FIR against the complainant, though the police took no action.
With no progress from the police, the complainant filed an application under section 156(3) in court, prompting an order for police investigation. This led to the registration of an extortion case against the accused, culminating in the trial.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Manoj Kumar argued on behalf of the prosecution, presenting statements from 11 witnesses. The court, in its verdict, affirmed that the accused had deliberately coerced the complainant into compliance, ultimately compelling him to release Rs 3 lakh. The extortion charge was thus substantiated, resulting in the imposition of the aforementioned penalties on both accused parties.