OBSERVING THAT “corruption is eating the very roots of our system”, the special CBI court of Chandigarh on Tuesday sentenced a Head Constable of Chandigarh Police to five-year imprisonment. He had been arrested while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from an autorickshaw driver for not harassing and challaning his autorickshaw in 2014.
The convict, Paramjit Singh, then Head Constable of the Chandigarh traffic Police, was sentenced under Section 7, Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The convict was also imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 by the court of Sanjiv Joshi, ADJ, CBI.
Paramjit Singh was held by the CBI in September 2014 on the complaint of Narottam Kumar, an autorickshaw driver, who told CBI that accused Singh of Traffic Police had demanded a bribe of Rs 1,200 from him for not harassing and challaning his autorickshaw. Later, he reduced the bribe amount to Rs 1,000.
The CBI then laid a trap at Kisan Bhawan Chowk (Sector 35/22/23), where the accused was on duty. The complainant parked his auto 15-20 metres off the traffic police booth in Sector 36 and met the accused. After talking for a while, the complainant handed over the bribe money to the accused. While accepting the bribe money, the accused was arrested by CBI.
During the trial, the defence counsel, Amar Singh Chahal, argued that a false case had been planted on him on account of challaning the complainant a few days before the incident. The accused never demanded or accepted any illegal gratification from the complainant, and nothing was found on his person. However, CBI public prosecutor Kanwar Pal Singh argued that Rs 1,000 was recovered from the folds of the bedsheet kept in the police booth. The accused should be awarded maximum punishment to discourage such persons from indulging in the menace of corruption, argued K P Singh.
After hearing the arguments, the court convicted the accused and held that “…accused was supposed to curb the offences, including corruption, being a police official. However, the convict threatened the complainant, a poor person, to fork out Rs 1,000 as illegal gratification per month. It is common knowledge that … corruption is eating the very roots of our system and increasing day by day despite several efforts made by the legislature since Independence to curb the same. Our country is suffering a loss of billions of rupees due to the rampant corruption prevalent in our country. Poor people are the worst sufferers of corruption in our society… A public servant, once he is found to be guilty of obtaining illegal gratification, deserves no soft corner or indulgence from the court.”