Chandigarh, September 22
Corruption has seeped so much into the roots of society and every nook and corner that people have started forming a notion that for any work they have to bribe some official. Slowly, an opinion is being formed that even for their lawful work, a person or official has to be bribed. The convict, rather, deserves a punishment, which would act as a deterrent to other persons in society, so that they would think twice before committing such an offence.
Observing this, Jagjit Singh, Special Judge, CBI Court, has sentenced Devinder Singh Thapar, former junior assistant in the office of the Registrar of Firms and Societies, Punjab, to undergo five years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) in a corruption case registered by the CBI in 2011.The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 3 lakh on the convict.
Devinder Singh was caught by the CBI, along with Raj Khurana, former Punjab’s Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPC) and BJP MLA from Rajpura, in Sector 39 on May 5, 2011 while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1.50 crore.
The CBI laid a trap on a complaint of Manpreet Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Automobile Mechanics Association. Manpreet alleged that Thapar demanded a bribe for closing a complaint filed against association’s office-bearers for alleged embezzlement of funds and illegal sale of land at Dera Bassi.
Thapar had told Manpreet that he would get this work done through Raj Khurana who would approach the then Industry Minister. An amount of Rs 2 crore was initially demanded, which was finally settled for Rs 1.5 crore. On his complaint, the CBI laid a trap. Devinder asked the complainant to reach the official residence of Khurana.
Thapar and late Khurana were arrested when they accepted Rs 1.5 crore - Rs 15 lakh in cash and Rs 1.35 crore through nine cheques - at the official residence of Khurana.
The court framed the charges against the three accused, Devinder Singh, late Raj Khurana and Bhag Singh, PS to another minister of the Punjab Government, for offences punishable under Section 120-B read with Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998. Khurana died during the trial in 2017 while the court acquitted accused Bhag Singh in the case.
Special public prosecutor PK Dogra, while arguing on the quantum of sentence, prayed for exemplary punishment citing the seriousness of the crime. However, the counsel for the accused sought for the leniency.
After hearing the arguments, the court sentenced the accused to undergo five years of rigorous imprisonment after convicting him under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act - 1988 and also imposed a fine of Rs 3 lakh on the convict.
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