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Chandigarh: Court dismisses appeal of Colonel Goraya, upholds two-year jail term, fine of Rs 20,000

‘Appellant was a highly decorated officer of Indian Army and cannot be treated as a layman’

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published: January 22, 2020 9:51:56 am
Chandigarh: Court dismisses appeal of Colonel Goraya, upholds two-year jail term, fine of Rs 20,000 Colonel Goraya was sentenced to two-year imprisonment by the court of Akshdeep Mahajan, then CJM, in February 2017. (Representational Image)

THE ADDITIONAL District and Sessions Court of Rajesh Sharma has dismissed the appeal of Colonel (Retired) B S Goraya and upheld the order of the trial court which awarded him two-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 20,000 in 2017.

Colonel Goraya was sentenced to two-year imprisonment under Section 206 (fraudulent removal or concealment of property to prevent its seizure as forfeited or in execution) of the IPC by the court of Akshdeep Mahajan, then CJM, in February 2017. However, Goraya filed an appeal against the order of CJM court in the ADJ court of Rajesh Sharma. Goraya was also convicted by the special CBI court in a disproportionate assests (DA) case in 2017, against which he has filed an appeal in the High Court.

The matter pertains to an FIR registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act on August 16, 1990, against Colonel Goraya wherein the Chandigarh Administration had filed an application for attachment of movable/immovable properties of Colonel Goraya and his family members, as a result of registration of corruption case against him for possessing disproportionate assets beyond his known sources of income.

On the basis of said application, B B Parsoon, the then Special Judge of CBI, Chandigarh, had attached the properties owned by the accused and his family members on July 5, 1993, and the attachment was made absolute in September 1995. The agricultural land owned by Goraya situated at Jehan Kalan village in Hoshiarpur district was also part and parcel of the attachment. However, in violation of the attachment order, accused Goraya had sold the agricultural land in June 2004 despite the fact that the accused was fully aware of the attachment. The accused transferred the land to another person, preventing it from being taken by the court.

The fraud came to the notice of the Chandigarh Administration in Septmeber 2009 when Atinder Kumar, a kanungo, was examined in the corruption case against Goraya in the CBI court. Thereafter, the Chandigarh Administration filed an application under Section 340 of the CrPC before Special Judge, CBI, Chandigarh. After conducting a preliminary inquiry into the matter in January 2011, the court reached a conclusion that proceedings be initiated against Goraya for commission of offence under Section 206 of the IPC.

In the appeal, the counsel for Goraya argued that after attachment, there was no entry in the revenue records regarding attachment of agriculture land belonging to Goraya and he was under an impression that he was at liberty to dispose it of. Since Goraya has already been convicted in disproportionate assests case in 2017 by the CBI court, Goraya already deposited a sum of Rs 67 lakh in the shape of fixed deposit with Registrar (Judicial).

After hearing the arguments, the court held that “…appellant was well aware of the fact that his agriculture land situated at District Hoshiarpur, the identity of which has not been disputed by him, was under attachment and the appellant illegally and stealthily sold the same during the pendency of trial. Rightly or wrongly attachment order was there, but without getting agricultural land released from attachment, same could not have been sold…”

Regarding the contention made by Goraya that after attachment, there was no entry in the revenue records regarding attachment of property and he was under the impression that agricultural land inherited by him before joining service, was not under attachment. Therefore, the court observed that “this submission is without any force because appellant was a highly decorated officer of Indian Army and cannot be treated as a layman”. The court also held that during the proceedings initiated under Section 340 of the CrPC by the court, Goraya has failed to explain under what circumstances land was sold and such act is not part of bonafide mistake, rather sale deed was executed with malafide intention while disobeying the order passed by the court.

The court thus dismissed the appeal of Goraya and upheld the sentence awarded to him. He was then taken into custody and sent to jail.

Timeline

A case was registered against Col Goraya, General Staff (engineer headquarters, Western Command) in August 1990 after which he was dismissed from service in 1993

Between January 1, 1987, and August 8, 1990, Goraya, a Sector 9 resident, and his family members acquired properties valued at Rs 82.6 lakh. Of these, they could not account for properties worth Rs 72.7 lakh, the CBI had claimed.

The challan was filed by the CBI in 1993

It took seven years for investigating officer Makhan Singh to record evidence

The retired colonel engaged a lawyer only towards the fag end of the case

In 2017, Col Goraya, then 75, had said that he appeared in various courts, including HC and SC, more than “500 times”

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