The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday granted bail to former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu in the 2002 cash-for-job case.
Sidhu is currently lodged in the Rupnagar jail.
A Rupnagar court had found Sidhu guilty under Section 13 (for fraudulently converting a property/service entrusted to him as a public servant for others to use) and Section 7 (for taking gratification other than legal remuneration) of the Prevention of Corruption Act in July 2013. He was sentenced to six years’ jail with a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh.
Sidhu had challenged the trial court order in the high court soon after his conviction, but the case was heard for the first time in October 2013. The petitioners’ counsel had contended that Sidhu’s conduct had been good in other cases as well where he was granted bail and had already spent more than three years in jail.
The bench of justice Daya Chaudhary allowed Sidhu’s petition and granted him bail.
Sidhu was arrested by the vigilance bureau in March 2002 for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh at his Sector 39 flat in Chandigarh. During the investigation, Rs 9.57 crore in cash, Rs 8.99 crore in his bank accounts, shares and debentures, and properties valued at Rs 12.93 crore, as per a conservative estimate, were recovered.
The case was registered at SAS Nagar vigilance bureau police station. He got bail in January 2004, but was sent to jail again after his conviction in 2013.
Sidhu had earlier secured bail in a disproportionate assets case and a trap case, while he was acquitted in two cases filed against him under the Arms Act and the Excise and Taxation Act. He will finally be out of jail now.
A former journalist, he was appointed chairman of the PPSC in 1996.