In a key judgment in the 2002 PPSC cash-for-job scam, a Patiala court on Monday handed a two-year jail sentence to former senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, holding him guilty of paying Rs. 70 lakh as bribe to secure a job in the Punjab Civil Services (PCS) for his
daughter Kuljeet Kaur, who has since been removed.
The verdict, which came after a 10-year trial, assumes more significance as it has underlined that illegal gratification in the form of money had indeed exchanged hands. In this case, as the court of the special judge KC Gupta ruled, the bribe was paid to Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, the then chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).
Pherurai was convicted for having paid the bribe under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and also fined Rs. 10,000; though he got bail soon after the pronouncement of the verdict, said additional public prosecutor Sanjiv Batra.
According to the FIR dated on September 5, 2002, Pherurai, who was then the SSP of Ferozepur, had approached alleged middleman Randhir Singh Dheera via a friend, Prem Sagar, for selection of his daughter in PCS (executive). Though Pherurai's daughter, who was sacked from the PCS along with around 40 others after the scam came to light, and the middlemen are also facing trial, Pherurai was facing this specific charge as the vigilance bureau (VB) had registered separate cases against those who were alleged to have expressly paid the bribe.
Though there were nearly a dozen other people who had paid bribes, the VB had presented the first chargesheet in 2003 against Pherurai. The chargesheet said that after securing deal at a petrol filling station in Ferozepur, Pherurai paid Rs. 70 lakh to Sidhu at Chandigarh. In lieu, Sidhu gave him the question paper of criminal law and English.
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