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Funds Raised For Welfare Of People Cannot Be Utilized For Personal Expenses: Gujarat High Court Denies Bail To Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale

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The bench of Justice Samir J. Dave, denied bail to Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale by observing that the fact that Saket Gokhale has Primafacie misappropriated the funds from a crowdfunding platform ‘our democracy’ and has used that money for personal use and he also remarked that it cannot be denied that some transactions were carried out for his personal expenses.

The FIR in the case was registered upon a complaint filed by a woman who claimed to have donated Rs 500 to Gokhale through online mode (Razorpay). Thereafter, Gokhale was booked under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), and 467 (forgery).

While denying bail to Saket Gokhale, the court observed that:

“From police report as well as statement of witnesses and affidavit filed by the Investigating Officer, it appears that there are serious allegations against the applicant. The Investigation is going on and the charge-sheet is yet to be filed. From the statement of the complainant and other witness, it appears that funding raised for welfare of the people were utilized by the applicant for his personal expenses. As per the statement of witness of witnesses, the applicant has not only received amount from the wife of the complainant, but received amount from the people from around 1767 persons and collecting funding using the social media or rather website received the payment by using online payment gateways. There are many transactions appears to have been done on prima-facie going through the bank account statement, so it cannot be denied that some transactions might be done for his personal usage or not, which is a question of fact and can only be decided by evidence at the time of trial and not at the stage of investigation when the charge sheet is yet to be filed. Further, the case being of the nature of fraud and cheating and keeping view that the investigation is still going on and the necessary evidences are to be recovered.”

Case: Criminal Misc. Application No. 1316 of 2023 [Saket Suhas Gokhale vs. State of Gujarat]

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