Dismissing the leniency petition of former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman Ravinderpal Singh “Ravi” Sidhu, a Patiala court said here on Wednesday that the cash-for-jobs convict deserved no mercy.
Awarded seven-year jail on Tuesday, Ravi Sidhu had pleaded for a softer sentence through his counsel, on which additional sessions judge Pushvinder Singh observed that if the head of a constitutional institution collected illegal gratification by selling prestigious jobs, it would send out a wrong message if he was shown leniency. In his 190-page verdict, the judge had observed that: “It seems that during the tenure of Ravi Sidhu, no post was filled without taking money.”
The judge highlighted that the candidates who paid bribe were being selected and merit being ignored. Question papers were given in advance to candidates who had paid money and their marks would be enhanced, observed the judge, adding that a large number of bribe givers had been selected, as an atmosphere was prepared where the candidates who did not pay were not selected. “The-then PPSC secretary, Prithpal Singh, was party to the conspiracy,” the judgment reads, mentioning how the papers were leaked and given to the candidates.
The judgment based on the statement of approver Jagman Singh says that Prithpal Singh used to deliver the question paper to Jagman for delivering to the candidates before the examination. “Answer sheets were manipulated similarly,” said the judge, referring to an answer sheet on which a candidate had been awarded 85 marks for an essay paper that had not even been evaluated.
Untrue that Capt framed him
The court also rejected the contention raised by Ravi Sidhu that Captain Amarinder Singh, the-then chief minister, had framed him in this case because as a journalist before being appointed PPSC chairman, he had written against the leader in a newspaper.
The published news was not sufficient to prove that a CM would go to the extent to implicating the journalist, concluded the court. Sidhu had also claimed that AP Pandey, the-then director of Punjab Vigilance Bureau; and SV Singh, the-then chief director of the VB; were miffed with him since the PPSC had no selected their wards. The judge observed that to be insufficient evidence as well, while the prosecution had produced sufficient evidence to prove charges against the accused. “He can’t claim himself to be innocent,” said the judge.