The CBI special court on Tuesday acquitted three former bank officials in a corruption case after 34 years.
It has been a struggle of 34 years for NK Shar ma, SK Rai and BR Ahuja, employees of Kalka branch of State Bank of Patiala. Balwant Singh, the then manager at the bank, received a cheque, dated December 28, 1978, for 10 lakh, issued by Ram Kishan Bairagi, chairman, Haryana Housing Board, for the purpose of issuing five ter m deposit receipts of 2 lakh each, in favour of the board.
However, on January 1, 1979, he allegedly credited 2.95 lakh in cash credit account of M/s Nardev Saw Mills. He also alle gedly credited some amount in the name of other fir ms, belonging to Bhagat Singh, another accused. All accused, in conspiracy with each other committed criminal misconduct by falsification of bank accounts, preparing false debit and credit vouchers and making false entries in the bank record. This all was done to cause pecuniary gain to Bhagat Singh, an accused.
The accused faced the trial under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 477A (falsification of accounts) and Prevention of Corruption Act. Balwant passed away during the trial while Bhagat confessed to the crime in 1995 and was fined 10,000 and sent for imprisonment till the rising of the court.
Sharma, Rai and Ahuja were convicted in 1997 and ordered to be released on probation. The trio took the case to the Punjab and Haryana high court. But the HC reverted the matter to the CBI court as there were some discrepancies in the statement of the accused.
But later the records of the case got lost in the CBI court. The record keeper also faced dismissal for this. The case file could not be constructed and in absence of the prosecution records, the CBI court had to acquit the trio.