July 10, 2021 1:01:26 am
A SPECIAL CBI court of Panchkula Friday sentenced a 60-year-old former sub-inspector (SI) of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to four years of rigorous imprisonment for taking a bribe of Rs 10,000 from a labourer in Jakhal in September 2016.
The convict, Devinder Singh, who was then posted at the Jakhal railway station in Haryana, had demanded a bribe of Rs 30,000 from victim Mandeep Singh in lieu of not taking action against him and his two fellow labourers after he illegally detained them for allegedly damaging an optical fibre cable of the railway station during their work.
The officer, in the order pronounced Thursday, has been held guilty and convicted to three years under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) and four years under Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The sentences will run concurrently.
While pronouncing the quantum of sentence, the single bench of Special Judge Sunil Kumar Garg observed, “It is pertinent to mention here that police corruption is a form of police misconduct in which law enforcement officer abused their power for personal gain. Police officers have several opportunities to gain personally from their status and authority as Law Enforcement Officer… bribery among police officials is one of the most common acts of corruption. The cancer of corruption in police is very often jeopardises constitutional governance and acts as catalyst in the violation of civil and human rights of the citizens. Therefore, to curb the menace of corruption in the society, strict action is required against such police official who generates the distrust amongst the civilian against police department.”
The counsel for the accused had stated that he is not a previous convict, is aged and also the sole bread earner of the family. The counsel added that Devinder is suffering from various ailments and that his retirement benefits have already been stopped by the department. Further adding that Devinder has been facing the agony of protracted trial since 2016, the counsel requested a lenient view while awarding sentence to him.
Even though the court agreed to the counsel’s argument, it noted, “However, the conduct of accused-convict is highly deplorable… any softness in this regard could produce and undesirable result, namely, encouragement to adoption of corrupt means by public servants which has indeed to be checked.”
Devinder Singh had detained the complainant and his fellow labourers Randhir Singh and Chandi Ram on the intervening night of September 13 and 14 in 2016. He had demanded an illegal gratification of Rs 30,000 in lieu of releasing them as well as an impounded car. He subsequently reduced the bribe money to Rs 15,000. On September 14, the accused- convict directed the complainant to hand over Rs 10,000 as bribe money to one Sourabh Saini, a resident of New Basti near the railway station.
Following a complaint, the investigating agency laid a trap and arrested Saini while accepting Rs 10,000 from the complainant.
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