Devinder Singh Babla, Congress leader and former councillor, was on Monday convicted by a local court on the charges of cheating in the allotment of sheds at the Sector 26 Grain Market, but was released on probation for one year.
The order was passed by Civil Judge (Junior Division) Shifa.
The case dates back to August 2009 when the Chandigarh Police had registered a case of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy against Babla, a former chairman of the market committee, and Rakesh, president of the Arthiya Association of the Sector 26 Grain Market, for irregularities in the allotment of 69 platforms at the market.
It was alleged that although there were 59 licensees, 10 ineligible persons were also accommodated during the auction held on July 24 when Babla was chairman of the market committee.
Babla was booked after a shed, which had fallen, had to be re-allocated. A police official who had probed the matter said, “The convict got the allocation papers prepared and put his signatures on these, although the sub-divisional magistrate had not finalised the allotment.”
Babla surrendered on December 28, 2009, after a local court issued orders asking him to appear, otherwise he would be declared a proclaimed offender. A special investigation team (SIT) of the Chandigarh Police submitted the chargesheet against Babla in February 2010.
Although key witness G R Pillai, assistant secretary of the Marketing Committee, took a U-turn on his statement recorded with the Chandigarh Police during the trial, another witness Ranjit Singh, who was also an official of the market committee, corroborated the allegations.