The Supreme Court has said that the essence of criminal conspiracy was an agreement to do a criminal act and seldom was there any direct evidence to prove the ingredients of the criminal conspiracy.
“The essence of criminal conspiracy is an agreement to do an illegal act and such an agreement can be proved either by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence or by both, and it is a matter of common experience that direct evidence to prove conspiracy is rarely available,” said the apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra in a recent judgment.
The court said that no overt act was needed to be done in furtherance of the conspiracy, and that the object of the unlawful combination need not be accomplished, in order to constitute an indictable offence.
“Therefore, the circumstances proved before, during and after the occurrence have to be considered to decide about the complicity of the accused,” Justice Misra said.
“The law making conspiracy a crime is designed to curb immoderate power to do mischief which is gained by a combination of the means,” the court said.
Referring to its earlier verdict, the court said that for an offence that was punishable under Indian Penal Code’s Section 120-B (conspiracy), the prosecution need not necessarily prove that the perpetrators expressly agreed to do an illegal act and such an act may be proved by necessary implications.
The court said this while declining to grant bail to Pratapbhai Solanki accused of involvement in the murder of right to information activist Amitbhai Jethwa in 2010 near the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad.
Noting that the high court transferred the investigation into the murder to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the court said that “as there is a direction for fresh investigation, it should be inapposite to enlarge the appellant on bail”.
The high court expressed its dissatisfaction with the investigation that was being conducted by Gujarat Police and described it as perfunctory.
Solanki is accused of being allegedly involved in the murder of Jethwa July 20, 2010. The RTI activist was allegedly shot at by two contract killers at Satyamev Complex-I opposite to high court.
Jethwa allegedly earned the wrath of Solanki for exposing a number of illegal activities.