Recovery of money given to a friend as loan

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I was a student studying abroad in Belgium. In 2016, one of my colleague who was also staying in Belgium took around 1100 euros which correspond to Rs 88000 in today’s conversion rate. He promised to return in two months. However, soon after going back to India he disappeared, switched off his mobile phone, change his email account. I tried making several contacts but of no response. I called their parents, but they denied that his son has taken the money and now not responding to my calls. Its almost two years now but I cannot contact him. 

I gave him a loan as cash on two instalments (500 euro each). I have proof of bank transaction. I have audio and email confirmations of money given and acknowledging about the same.

I am helpless and badly want to get my hard-earned money back. I belong to a middle-class family and saved money to support my studies abroad and family expenses. I feel cheated and seek legal help if any possible to recover the amount. Please help me if any lawyers can provide legal help/suggestions on this. 

Question from - Civil Law

Your friend has committed the offence of cheating. He had the intention to take money from you by making a false promise to return. At the same time, he had no plan to pay back the said money.

He switched off his mobile phone and closed the email id. These acts itself prove that he is trying to conceal his appearance. The main reason behind such concealment is not to pay back the money.

You may file an FIR for the offence of cheating. The Indian court has jurisdiction to try this case however money transferred in Belgium.

Jurisdiction of court

According to section 4 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), if an Indian citizen commits an act in a foreign country which is an offence under the IPC, the court has jurisdiction to try that offence.

Therefore, you can file the FIR in the nearest police station in whose jurisdiction you are currently living.  

Limitation period

The offence of cheating is punishable with the imprisonment up to seven years. Therefore, there is no limitation period for institution of FIR. The court will take cognisance even after the delay of three years.

Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, provides a limitation period for taking cognisance. According to it, there is no limitation period if the offence is punishable with more than three years of imprisonment.

Offence of Cheating

The offence of cheating is punishable under section 420 of the IPC. If the accused had a dishonest or fraudulent intention and induced the person to deliver the property, he commits cheating. Your friend had such intention and influenced you. Therefore, he commits the offence of cheating.

In Anil Mahajan v. Bhor Industries Ltd., (2005) 10 SCC 228 the supreme court holds that mere failure to keep the promise at a subsequent stage does not constitute the offence of cheating. If he had a dishonest intention and deceived by the false hope, he commits a crime, i.e. cheating.

Therefore, you should file an FIR against him as soon as possible. You must explain the delay for filing FIR because it is necessary to make the FIR trustworthy. You have sufficient evidence. Firstly, a proof of withdrawal of money from your bank account. Secondly, audio and email conversation in which he acknowledged the receiving that money.  Thirdly, he ran away after coming to India. All the above evidence prove that he committed the offence of cheating.

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You can ask your question to Mr Shivendra Pratap Singh, (Advocate, High Court Allahabad, Lucknow Bench)

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