With corruption charges framed against him formally on Monday, the trial of suspended superintendent of police (SP) Deshraj Singh, 34, will begin at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here on November 27. Deshraj, currently on bail, is accused of taking Rs. 1 lakh as bribe from a junior officer in lieu of getting him the clean chit in two departmental inquiries. He faces a minimum of one year in jail and maximum seven, as per the charges levied.
A 2008-batch officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), Deshraj was arrested by the CBI at his Sector-23 residence on October 18 last year on a complaint by Chandigarh police inspector Anokh Singh, the station house officer of Sector 26. Then posted as SP (city) and holding additional charge as SP (headquarters), he was allegedly accepting the bribe from Anokh, who had helped the CBI lay the trap. The demand, it is alleged, was for Rs. 5 lakh.
"Charges be framed as per the chargesheet," ruled CBI special judge Vimal Kumar on Monday, paving the way for trial under the Prevention of Corruption Act. "Deshraj, while posted as SP, being a public servant by corrupt and illegal means and by abusing his official position as public servant, demanded and accepted bribe of Rs. 1 lakh from complainant, as a motive for not harassing the complaint and for helping him in regular departmental inquiry pending against the complainant," CBI had said in the chargesheet.
Deshraj's lawyer Vishal Garg Narwana, however, insisted, "He has been falsely implicated in the case as there is no demand of bribe."
Deshraj (34) had joined as assistant commissioner of police at Punjabi Bagh in New Delhi on September 1, 2010. After holding the post for about a month, he joined the UT police as ASP (central) on October 20, 2010, as an under-training IPS officer. On July 25 that year, he was appointed as SP.
What's the matter?
*Inspector Anokh Singh, SHO of Sector 26, said in his complaint to the CBI that SP Deshraj was a crucial witness in one of the departmental inquiries initiated against him.
*The inquiries against Anokh Singh were initiated for alleged disobedience and insubordination as he had failed to inform Deshraj about a theft at an MLA's residence. In the second inquiry initiated against Anokh Singh by Deshraj, the SHO had allegedly not conducted proper investigation in a case of assault on a woman constable.
*Deshraj's statement in the inquiry was pending, and the bribe was demanded to give a "favourable" statement. ASP (IRB) Shivcharan was conducting the two departmental inquiries against Anokh Singh.
Why Deshraj needs to worry
*Inspector Anokh Singh has produced audio recordings of the bribe allegedly demanded by SP Deshraj over phone and in person
*Forensic report says voices in the recording are indeed of Anokh Singh and Deshraj.
*CBI had dropped the usual practice of independent shadow witness to the acceptance of bribe, and opted for two digital recorders to record the conversation during the trap that led to the arrest.
*In all, CBI has named 33 witnesses in the chargesheet running into 15 pages.
What happened when
Oct 12, 2012: Inspector Anokh Singh records conversation with the then SP (city) Deshraj Singh when demand of Rs. 5 lakh for help in departmental probes. Anokh pleads and gets deal settled at Rs. 2 lakh
Oct 15: Anokh Singh submits complaint to CBI
Oct 18: CBI lays trap, records conversation during which Deshraj tells Anokh that "all arrangements have been made" and he should visit his residence alone; CBI arrests Deshraj while allegedly taking Rs. 1 lakh
Dec 12: Deshraj get bail
July 5, 2013: CBI receives prosecution sanction from union home ministry, required as Deshraj is IPS officer
July 7: CBI files chargesheet
Oct 14: Charges framed, date set for November 27