New Delhi, March 24
Convicted of taking Rs 300 bribe almost two decades ago, a man from Punjab has been acquitted by the Supreme Court which took 13 years to come to the conclusion that there was no evidence on record to prove the demand of illegal gratification.
“The trial court had specifically held that there is no evidence produced on record to prove the demand of illegal gratification. It is not the case in which the demand was reiterated when the money was allegedly paid to him…The High Court has passed its judgment on the assumption that the money having been recovered from the appellant, there was demand of illegal gratification. This is not a case where there was circumstantial evidence to prove the demand,” a Bench of justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Rajesh Bindal said, acquitting Jagtar Singh.
Singh—a cleaner in the office of a civil surgeon in Punjab—was convicted by the trial court in 2005 for offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and awarded one year imprisonment. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 2, 2010 upheld his conviction and sentence.
Singh – who was 45 when booked for allegedly accepting bribes—was granted bail in 2008. He remained in jail for 38 days and is said to have retired from service in 2016.
The top court took note of the fact that complainant Jit Singh as well as Chamkur Singh, a shadow witness and ex-village panchayat member, had turned hostile during the trial.
The complainant had alleged that for issuance of the death certificate the accused had demanded Rs 500 as illegal gratification but later agreed to get it done for Rs 300. The prosecution had contended that recovery of money had been proved.
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