DIRECTING THE Central of Bureau of Investigation to seek sanction from Punjab government before proceeding further against Inspector General of Police Gurinder Singh Dhillon, in case he is found to be involved in any offence, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that the link evidence to attract the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 in the case of alleged bribery against him “appears to be missing”.
“The twin requirement of demand and acceptance of bribe amount is missing as in the present case, the amount of bribe has not been accepted by the petitioner and the same has been alleged to be given to the said alleged conduit,” Justice Daya Chaudhary said in the order released on Saturday. However, Dhillon has been directed to appear before the CBI as and when required.
The court has also directed the CBI to probe the alleged nexus between former SSP Shiv Kumar Sharma, who is the complainant against Dhillon in the case registered by CBI, and the alleged conduit Ashok Goyal. The investigation is to be completed within next four months. The director, CBI, has been directed to constitute an SIT for the purpose which will be headed by an officer in the rank of Superintendent of Police. The case against Dhillon will also be investigated by the SIT.
CBI in August 2018 had registered a case regarding alleged demand of Rs 50 lakh by Goyal on behalf of Dhillon.
According to the CBI, an installment of around Rs 5 lakh out of the total demanded amount was accepted at a Chandigarh hotel. Goyal, however, is said to have been arrested at Ludhiana while accepting the bribe of around Rs 10 lakh. The demand for bribe, according to the CBI, was made to dilute the investigation in the pending cases against Sharma.
Justice Chaudhary in the judgment said that it is alleged that the bribe amount was paid in two parts and it is also alleged that the WhatsApp message regarding the payment was sent by the conduit while in custody of the CBI.
“Meaning thereby, requirement of demand and acceptance of bribe amount is not fulfilled. Only the presumption is there that the amount was kept in briefcase. The said alleged amount has not been shown to have been accepted by any person,” the judgment read, adding, all these things need to be taken into consideration during the probe.
Dhillon in his plea filed in September 2017 had alleged that Sharma, alongwith the CBI officials, “stage managed” a scene of delivery of Rs 5 lakh to Goyal. Stating that he is apprehending a false implication in the case, Dhillon informed the High Court that an inquiry against Sharma and other officers was marked to him when he was posted as IGP, Ferozepur range. The inquiry was related to false implication of a Patwari, Mohan Singh, in a 2012 case. Following an inquiry, Dhillon also had recommended a case against Sharma for allegedly holding disproportionate assets. He said the whole CBI case has been “managed” to dilute the police probe in cases pending against Sharma and other officers.
Pertinently, Punjab government has defended Dhillon in the case. Advocate General Atul Nanda told the court that Dhillon was acting in his official capacity against Sharma and others. Nanda also argued that the action against Dhillon “is a case of over reaching by the CBI authorities and has exceeded its jurisdiction without following the mandatory provisions.”