The Punjab government on Monday dismissed Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officer Purshotam Singh Sodhi, working as deputy secretary, agriculture, following his conviction in the 2002 Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) cash-for-job scam.
In an order issued by Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal here, it was mentioned that Sodhi was found guilty of commission of offence punishable under Section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and had been sentenced to two-year rigorous imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs.5,000.
The order said Sodhi had been dismissed from government service with immediate effect, adding that he would not be eligible for any government service in future.
Quoting the judgment in the case, the order further said: “What is really relevant thus is the conduct of the government servant which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge… the respondent has been found guilty of corruption by a criminal court. Until the said conviction is set aside by the appellate or other higher court, it may not be advisable to retain such a person in service… if he succeeds in appeal or other proceedings, the matter can always be reviewed in such manner that he suffered no prejudice.”
Trail of corruption
The Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) had busted the PPSC cash-for-job scam in 2002. The VB had registered an FIR against Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu – who held the PPSC chairman’s post from 1995 to 2002 - and others under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy, besides sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The VB had accused Sidhu of accepting bribe for recruitments through the PPSC between 1995 and 2002, while PCS officer Purshotam Singh Sodhi, among others, had been accused of securing a job by paying bribe to Sidhu.
On April 6 this year, a Patiala court held Sidhu and three others, including Sodhi, guilty in the scam. A day later, Sidhu was awarded seven-year imprisonment, while Sodhi had been given a two-year jail term.