Surinder Singh Bharadwaj, former Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMIC) in the Chandigarh district court, who was acquitted of the charge of escaping from CBI custody in 2014, has been convicted by Additional District and Sessions Judge Ashwani Kumar Mehta on Tuesday following an appeal filed by Chandigarh Police.
Bharadwaj has been held guilty under Section 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was taken into custody soon after he was convicted. The sentence will be pronounced on Friday. Bharadwaj had been convicted in a 2009 corruption case by the CBI court as per which in 2003, then posted as JMIC in the Chandigarh district court, he was booked by CBI for taking Rs 7 lakh as the first instalment of Rs 11 lakh bribe to secure bail for an accused. In the matter, former district and sessions judge (Jalandhar) R M Gupta was also booked. He, however, was acquitted of all charges.
According to the appeal filed by Chandigarh Police, when the CBI sleuths went to arrest Bharadwaj in 2003 at his Sector 22 residence in the graft case, he told the CBI team that he was going upstairs to console his wife as she was upset about the case. Bharadwaj took the opportunity to flee from his house. The CBI then lodged a complaint with the police, which registered a case under Section 224 IPC against Bharadwaj at Sector 17 Police Station for fleeing from CBI custody. Bharadwaj, however, surrendered in the CJM Court in Chandigarh a month later.
Then the trial commenced and in 2014, the JMIC court of Nisha acquitted Bharadwaj of all charges after the prosecution failed to establish the evidence. Chandigarh Police, however, appealed against the JMIC court order in the Sessions Court. After hearing the arguments, the ADJ Court held Bharadwaj guilty and set aside his order of acquittal passed by the trial court.
In the three-year jail sentence handed to Bharadwaj by the CBI Court, he had moved High Court which is still pending. Bharadwaj is at present the owner of the Jurist Academy, where Sushila and Sunita, beneficiaries and accused in the HCS (Judicial) exam paper leak case, used to go for coaching. The Chandigarh Police SIT had even included Bharadwaj’s statement in the chargesheet filed in the HCS paper leak case.
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