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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Court hesitates but awards jail to whistleblower babu

Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 23, 2013
First Published: 00:48 IST(23/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:33 IST(23/1/2013)

A Delhi court's verdict handing down a 10-year jail term to whistleblower IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar in the junior basic trained teachers' recruitment scam underlines the need for a law to protect people who are willing to risk their lives to expose corruption.

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Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar, who held Kumar to be a whistleblower, lamented that there was no law to protect whistleblowers.

"Had Sanjiv Kumar not taken a step to approach the Supreme Court and had he not produced the second set of award lists, this scam would not have come to light," the judge said in his order admitting to having faced a dilemma in sentencing the babu.

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"The dilemma before this court in deciding the question of sentence is on account of the simple reason that sentencing such a person may send a message that a whistleblower is not appreciated by law, rather, he is put to trial and tribulation," the court said in its 34-page order on sentence.

"But in the view of his consistent false stand in respect of the genuineness and fakeness of thee award lists, I have no option but to treat him on parity with those convicts who were overseeing the execution of the entire conspiracy," the special judge said handing down a 10-year jail term to the IAS officer.

Maintaining that convicts who acted under severe pressure must be treated leniently, the court enunciated certain principles that may be followed while dealing with whistleblowers.

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