The acquittal of former PU controller of examinations (CoE) Sodhi Ram along with four others in an alleged paper leak case came as a major embarrassment for CBI as all 33 witnesses turned hostile.
During the trial that went on for 16 years since the case was registered, the then vicechancellor MM Puri, on whose complaint the case was registered, failed to support the allegations of the prosecuting agency.
Acquitting accused on July 4, (copy of the order available with HT) CBI judge Vimal Kumar, held, “Mere suspicion, however, strong it may be, cannot take the place of proof……it is evident that prosecution has not produced clear, cogent, credible and convincing evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.... beyond shadow of all reasonable doubt.”
The court further held, “There is no other direct or circumstantial evidence that all accused leaked mathematics question papers of BSc-3 (honours) or accused Sodhi Ram and Dhan Singh dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriated or converted to their own use the question papers and cheated PU by supplying photocopies of question papers to the students and others or Dhan Singh abused his position as a public
FORMER V-C FAILED TO VERIFY ALLEGATIONS
PU V-C MM Puri in his statement before the court, had submitted that following the news of paper leak, an inquiry committee of two professors was appointed. Puri claimed that as soon as Sodhi Ram received a complaint regarding the paper leak, he should have brought the said matter to his notice and should have cancelled question papers and got fresh question paper set. But Puri himself could not point out which question paper should have been cancelled immediately after receiving the complaint.
WAS FORCED TO SIGNFALS ESTATEMENT: DHAN SINGH
Claiming false implication in the case, accused Dhan Singh while recording his statement before the court said, “I was inhumanly, illegally, maltreated and sexually exploited by CBI officers for obtaining signature on the false disclosure statement during interrogation.”
WAS FALSELY IMPLICATED, SAYS SODHI RAM
In his statement, Sodhi Ram said he had joined as PU CoE in February 1998. He claimed that during that period Puri, whose term as V-C was to end in July 2000, was trying for another term in PU, whereas, his (Sodhi Ram) name was under active consideration for the VC ship of some neighbouring university. However, Puri got wrong impression that Ram was trying for VC ship of PU. Therefore, under that misunderstanding, he (Puri) with the motive to remove him from his way with the hope that he (Puri) might get extension as V-C got him implicated falsely in the case in connivance with CBI.