Convicted of taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a subordinate officer, the special CBI Court of Chandigarh sentenced former Chandigarh Police SP Desh Raj Singh to three years’ imprisonment on Friday. After the sentence, he was bailed out by furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh in the CBI court.
Desh Raj Singh, a 2008 batch IPS officer, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under sections 7 and 13 (2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act by Additional District and Sessions Judge Poonam R Joshi, who also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the convict.
On Friday, while pleading leniency with the court, Desh Raj said he was the sole breadwinner of his family and his nine-year-old daughter has been suffering from Erb’s Palsy and her left hand does not function. He also said that his son was suffering from G6 PLD, that is in case of a blood loss, injuries do not heal quickly and blood transfusion is required and so he needs immediate medical assistance and his wife is a diabetic.
But CBI Public Prosecutor K P Singh argued that the convict was the face of UT Police and his act of taking bribe has established that officials of high rank were not immune to corruption which starts from the top and goes down to the roots giving further license to junior officers. The PP submitted that corruption was so rampant in society that the convict should be given maximum punishment because instead of setting an example of honesty to his juniors, he had himself indulged in such activities.
After hearing the submissions of Desh Raj and the Public Prosecutor, the court observed that this case has raised the curtain and showed the manner in which the cancer of corruption had spread in the systems. The court stated that the defence plea that the complainant had lured the convict and make relations smooth when the departmental inquiry started against him on his recommendations and then implicated him in a false case reminds one of the story, Namak Ka Daroga, by Munshi Prem Chand. Referring to the story, the court observed, “…in twenty-first century when corruption has become a dreaded disease like cancer and time demands strength of character among police officers like Munshi Vanshidhar who is the main character as “Daroga” i.e. public servant/police official in the story and sets example of honesty by a public servant…”
“Munshi Vanshidhar does not accept bribe offered by one Aalopideen, an influential person of the area, for not performing his legal duty to stop smuggling of salt and is not allured by Aalopideen even when the latter raises the amount of bribe to Rs 40,000. Such a huge amount would certainly matter in earlier twentieth century. The society expects and wants honest and dedicated police officials/officers like Munshi Vanshidhar…”
The court then stated that the court does not see any mitigating circumstances for awarding minimum punishment while the court also held that keeping in view the health problems of the children of the IPS officer, the court does not find any reason to award him maximum punishment as pleaded by the PP. So, the court awarded three years’ imprisonment to the convict.
IPS officer Desh Raj Singh, then Chandigarh Police SP, was caught taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh by CBI sleuths from a junior officer, Inspector Anokh Singh, at his official residence in Sector 23, on October 18, 2012. The complainant, Inspector Anokh Singh of Sector 26 PS, had stated that IPS officer Desh Raj Singh, then SP (City) Chandigarh Police, had initially demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to exonerate the former inspector in two inquiries pending with him. The deal was clinched at Rs 2 lakh but Anokh approached the CBI which caught the SP taking Rs 1 lakh, first installment of the bribe, red-handed.
Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, defence counsel Vishal Garg Narwana said, “It’s a big relief that the accused was not taken into custody. We will move High Court for suspension of sentence. We hope that he will be acquitted by the High Court.”