A Delhi court has upheld the conviction of a former CISF personnel who forged a bravery award certificate in the Delhi High Court for grant of a favourable order two decades ago. The CISF personnel, currently 70, had in 1999 sought relief from the Delhi High Court after disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him and he was asked to take “compulsory retirement”.
Moving the HC against the punishment, he had submitted a certificate showing that he had received the Ashoka Chakra award, and that this should be taken into consideration. As per court records, when the matter was heard in the High Court in 2004, the court “suspected the authenticity” of the certificate and asked the CBI to investigate.
After the inquiry, the CBI submitted that the certificate was “forged”, and subsequently an order was passed by the HC to prosecute the accused. He then faced trial under IPC section 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) in a lower court.
During trial, the former personnel said he had never received the award from the president, and accused his lawyer of making him “sign blank documents”.
“I had stopped 48 thefts and various awards were received by me. I had no concern with the certificates in question and those were filed by my lawyer… without my knowledge,” he said in his statement. The prosecution, during recording of evidence, submitted that a witness from the Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, had deposed that no such award was conferred to the accused in the particular year.
In August 2018, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate rejected the man’s defence that his lawyer had forged the document, saying he could not supply any proof to this end. The CMM then convicted him for forgery and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment. The man appealed in the Sessions Court, which agreed with the CMM and upheld the man’s conviction. However, the court reduced his quantum of sentence to half.
“Keeping in view of the crime committed and the fact that he is 70 years of age… he faced 13 years of trial and also served his nation during his employment with CISF unit for 22 years — firstly as a constable and then as a naik — the court finds that the sentence of imprisonment deserves to be reduced,” Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar said in his order on October 18.