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Friday, March 05, 2021

Chandigarh: Ex-bank official, businessman get 4-year jail terms in graft case

The two accused included a former Punjab and Sind bank official, guilty in a graft case, which led to a loss of Rs 3.5 crore to the bank in 2013.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
February 16, 2021 8:32:47 am
Ex-bank official, businessman get 4-year jail terms in graft caseAn FIR has been lodged against six people, including a former village head, and three of them have been arrested.

Observing that ‘accused committed economic offences which are detrimental to financial health of country. Therefore, financial fraud is like a murder and rape’, the special CBI court of Chandigarh Monday sentenced two persons to four years in prison.

The two accused included a former Punjab and Sind bank official, guilty in a graft case, which led to a loss of Rs 3.5 crore to the bank in 2013.

The convicts, Inderjit Singh and Tarsem Lal Singla, have been held guilty under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (Using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record]) of the IPC and 13(1)(d) punishable under section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The special CBI Judge, Dr Sushil Kumar Garg, also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Inderjit Singh, former Senior Manager Scale III officer, Punjab and Sind Bank and a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Tarsem Lal, a director of M/S Aakriti, a foreign currency exchange business company, A fine of Rs 10 lakh was also imposed on M/S Aakriti, which will also be paid by Tarsem Lal.

On the day of announcing the quantum of sentence, Inderjit Singh, through counsel, pleading leniency, contended that he is suffering from diseases like hypertension, sugar etc. He is 67 years old and his father is 96 years old, who is totally dependent upon him. Except his wife, there is no other person to take care of his father, and also throughout his career, his ACRs were outstanding. Meanwhile, Tarsem Lal pleaded that he is a first offender and not a previous convict. He is 65 years of age, and is facing the protracted trial of more than eight years. His business has already been shattered, adding that even the concerned bank has no loss in any manner.

Opposing their pleas, the CBI Public Prosecutor, Kanwar Pal Singh, argued, in order to check rampant corruption in public life, it is the need of the hour to give exemplary punishment to the public servant, who is found indulging in corrupt practices in connivance with any private party. Taking a lenient view in such matters sends a wrong message to the undesirable elements of society, therefore, stringent and deterrent punishment may be imposed upon the accused-convicts, added the prosecutor.

The CBI judge after hearing the arguments held, “The main purpose of the sentence broadly stated is that the accused must realize that he has committed an act which is not only harmful to the society of which he forms an integral part but is also harmful to his own future, both as an individual and as a member of society…Too lenient as well as too harass sentences both lose their efficaciousness. One does not deter and other my frustrate thereby making the offender a harden criminal…”

The Judge further added, “Accused Inderjit Singh and accused Tarsem Lal Singla Director of M/s Aakriti Constructions & Developments Ltd have committed economic offences which are detrimental to financial health of the country.

Therefore, financial fraud is like a murder and rape…I do not think if present is a case where the punishment to be awarded should be only three years as argued by the defence counsels for the accused-convicts, as any softness in this regard could produce and undesirable result, namely, encouragement to adoption of corrupt means by public servant in connivance with private party which has indeed to be checked, and now allow to be increased.”

As per reports, Tarsem Lal had taken a loan of Rs 35 crore from the Punjab and Sind Bank to set up a hospital in Baddi town in Himachal Pradesh. Working in connivance with Inderjit and Gurcharan, he submitted fake documents and caused a loss of Rs 3.5 crore to the bank. The officials had made fake entries and did not maintain the proper record of the loan file. The court, however, acquitted Gurcharan Singh of charges.

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