16 years on, ex-PU official acquitted in paper leak case

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2014 09:48 IST

After nearly 16 years of being accused of leaking question papers, Panjab University’s former controller of examination, Sodhi Ram, was acquitted of all charges as prosecution failed to prove the allegations against him on Friday.

CBI special judge Vimal Kumar also acquitted two other accused in the case--Dhan Singh, former an employee of PU’s secrecy branch and Anurag Gupta, who was then a student.

In July 1998, the Central Bureau of Investigation had re gistered a case ag ainst Sodhi Ram, Dhan Singh, and two students Anurag Gupta and Sukhwinder Singh for their alleged role in leaking the question papers of third-year bachelor of science (hons) of the department of mathematics in May 1998.

Sukhwinder Singh was declared a proclaimed offender after he stopped appearing before the court after being granted bail in 2001.

On July 21, 1998, the CBI, upon a complaint filed by former vice-chancellor MM Puri, filed a case. Puri lodged a complaint after a two-member committee set up to probe the matter submitted its report.

Central Bureau of Investigation had alleged that Dhan Singh had named Sodhi Ram in the leaking of two papers. Central Bureau of Investigation had produced the challan before the court in August 4, 2000.

Sodhi Ram had appeared before the Panjab University’s senate on August 26, 2000, to clarify his position, following which the Senate refused to sanction his prosecution.

The court then dropped charges of corruption against Ram and framed charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy, following which he moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, which had stayed the proceedings till 2013, when it was eventually vacated.

Nearly 33 witnesses were examined in the case: of this, most failed to support the allegations thus facilitating acquittal of the trio.

“We had been maintaining that Sodhi Ram has been implicated in the case, which had been reiterated by the court order,” said advocate PC Rana.

“It took 16 years for truth to come out. But I will wait for court order before speaking on the case,” said Sodhi Ram.

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