The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Chandigarh have directed the SHO vigilance to conduct further investigation in a case of 2012, which has chargesheeted a UT Inspector, Karam Chand for allegedly misplacing a file pertaining to a 2009 case. Inspector Chand had been chargesheeted by the Vigilance Cell under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) of the Indian Penal Code, while the charges were yet to be framed by the Court.
The matter dates back to 2012, when then OSD, Vigilance, Kulwant Singh Pannu, had issued notices to Inspectors in 2012 to get a status report of a case of 2009 named by “MC Road II”, as per which a surprise check that was carried out by the UT Vigilance Cell in 2009, in which certain quotation files for the period between August 4, 2004, to March 31, 2009, were taken into possession by the Vigilance Cell. But when the files were called, it was learnt that the files were entrusted to Inspector Jaswinder Kaur but she proceeded on 60 days leave, after which these were handed over to Shiv Kumar, Head Constable, who on September 7, 2009, handed over the files to SI Karam Chand, who was posted in 2009 in Vigilance Cell. When Vigilance asked for the files from Karam Chand, he submitted a written application claiming that he handed over the files to Inspector SPS Sondhi who was the then SHO Vigilance, as per verbal orders of the OSD Vigilance and he did not obtain signatures of Sondhi regarding handing over the files. Chand also stated in reply that on July 13, 2011, a crime review meeting was held under the DIG Vigilance, the same file was shown as well.
Later Inspector Jaswinder Kaur and Inspector Dalip Rattan stated that the files were not with him. Later an inquiry found that SI Karam Chand when took over the charge of case in 2009 in Vigilance, the record was handed over to him. Thus amounting to misconduct and commission, in 2015, the Vigilance Cell booked Karam Chand (now Inspector) under section 409 of IPC.
The Court of CJM, Abhishek Phutela while seeking a report after further investigation on October 14, 2019, has stated in order, “First, on the date of crime review meeting dated 13.7.2011, only one file of FIR No.1 of 2005 was shown to be pending with SI Karam Chand, whereas 6 FIR matters, 4 vigilance enquiries and 4 matters of surprise checking including the surprise checking files of MC Road-II of the year 2009 were shown to be pending with Inspector Dalip Rattan. Secondly, the then DSP Sh. Parmod Kumar who was OSD Vigilance, was not even joined in the investigation and no statement of him u/s 161 Cr.P.C. was recorded to verify whether on his asking Karam Chand had handed over the files to the then SHO S.P.S. Sondhi.”
The Court further opined that “when on 13.7.2011 during crime review meeting, files are shown to be under the charge of Inspector Dalip Rattan, liability of the loss of those files can not be fastened only and solely upon SI Karam Chand, only on the basis of handing over and taking over document created on 7.9.2009.” The Court also mentioned in the order that SI Karam Chand was transferred much later than the crime review meeting and whereabouts of all other files mentioned in the document on September 7, 2009, which are more than 10 in number would reflect as to who would naturally have the possession of such files in the department and that person would primarily be responsible for the loss of record.