Updated: March 25, 2021 9:27:22 am
A CBI court of Panchkula Wednesday awarded a senior government official a jail term of five years for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 55,000 from another public servant in 2016.
The convict, identified as Rajeev Kumar Gupta, the then Senior Accounts Officer at Pay and Account Office of Ministry of Agriculture, Faridabad, Haryana had demanded a bribe of Rs 60,000 in lieu of releasing the pending payment of bills of complainant Ranjana Shahi- the counsel on account of legal fee for representing government department.
Insisting that such corrupt elements of society and the system do not deserve any leniency, the court order read the quantum of sentence, saying, “Convict has been found indulging in criminal misconduct by demanding bribe from Senior Panel Counsel, who was representing government department before Hon’ble High Court… and thereafter was caught red handed while accepting bribe amount of Rs 55,000 in the presence three independent witnesses. It is sometimes reported that Counsel/Advocates have to approach Hon’ble High Court by invoking writ jurisdiction to get their dues, on account of legal fee for representing government department, to be payable by such department, released/disbursed and it is such kind of corrupt government officials, as present accused, who play truant and even the Counsel who defend government in courts of law, have to run from pillar to post to get their lawful dues released.”
The convict was sentenced to four years and five years each under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) read with 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act respectively. These sentences will run concurrently and the period of detention already undergone by the convict, during the investigation/trial will be set off against the period of substantive sentence awarded to him.
As per the judgement copy, Ranjana was a Senior Panel Counsel for Union of India in Punjab and Haryana High Court and had been representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Government of India. Her bills amounting to approximately Rs 25 lakh on account of legal fee for representing the above-said departments in various matters were pending for payment in the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture, Faridabad of which a total of Rs 6,13,000 had been sanctioned by the government and was pending for release of payment with Rajeev Kumar Gupta.
After Gupta demanded a bribe of Rs 60,000 from the complainant, she made a written complaint to the SP, CBI, Chandigarh for taking necessary legal action. The convict was then caught red-handed by a team of CBI Inspector and other witnesses in a pre-planned trap.
“Further once it is proved that a public servant accepted any gratification other than legal remuneration, Section 20 of the PC Act would come into play and it shall be presumed that accused accepted the gratification as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act etc, as mentioned in Section 7 of the Act,” further read the judgement pronouncing the accused guilty.
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