Private individuals can be prosecuted by the Court on the ground that they have abetted the act of criminal misconduct falling under Section 13(1)(e) of PC Act 1988 committed by the public servant

Supreme Court  in the case of State of Karnataka v. Selvi J. Jayalalitha &
Ors. [Criminal Appeal Nos.300 – 303 of 2017], wherein charges were framed against
A1 – former Chief Minister of the State of Tamil Nadu and the co-accused viz. A2,
A3 and A4 (respondents), for commission of alleged offences punishable under
Section 13(1)(e) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
and further under Section 120-B and Section 109 of IPC, it was held that A1 to A4
had “entered into a conspiracy and in furtherance of the same, A1 who was a public
servant at the relevant time had come into possession of assets disproportionate to
the known sources of her income during the check period and had got the same
dispersed in the names of A2 to A4 and the firms & companies involved to hold
these on her behalf with a masked front.” Furthermore, it was held that “the charge
of abetment laid against A2 to A4 in the commission of the offence by A1 also
stands proved.”
It was held that as the sole public servant had died being A1 in this matter, and
appeals against her had abated, even then A2 to A4 “were liable to be convicted and
sentenced in the manner as has been held by the Trial Judge.” It was held that
“private individuals can be prosecuted by the Court on the ground that they have
abetted the act of criminal misconduct falling under Section 13(1)(e) of the 1988 Act
committed by the public servant” and furthermore, the reasoning given by the Trial
Court in respect of criminal conspiracy and abetment was correct “in the face of the
overwhelming evidence indicating the circumstances of active abetment and
conspiracy by A2 to A4 in the commission of the above offences under Section
13(1)(e) of the 1988 Act.” Having regard to the fact that the charge framed against
A2 to A4 was proved, the conviction and sentence recorded against them by the
Trial Court was restored in full.[14th February, 2017]