A suspended UGC employee has been awarded three years imprisonment for accepting bribe of nearly Rs 95,000 from foreign students for early processing of their scholarships.
The court refused to show leniency to 49-year-old Pradeep Kumar, who was working as an assistant in selection and Award -I section at University Grant Commission (UGC), saying he had abused his official position by demanding money from foreign research scholars and caused a “big dent” in the country’s reputation.
“In the present case, the allegations proved against the convict are quite serious in nature. He had abused and misused his official capacity as a government servant and demanded various amounts from research scholars of foreign countries and thereby he has caused a big dent in the reputation of the country, as a whole.
“By his illegal acts, the convict has brought shame to the country and therefore, does not deserve any leniency from the court,” special CBI judge Brijesh Garg said.
Kumar was held guilty under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court, which also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on Kumar, allowed his plea to suspend the sentence for two months to enable him file an appeal against the judgment before a superior court and released him on bail on furnishing of personal bond of Rs 25,000.
CBI said an information was received that Kumar was indulging in corrupt practices and contacting foreign students selected for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) grant by UGC. He was asking them to deposit bribe amount in a bank account in Delhi for early processing of their scholarship amount, it said, adding that credit entries ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 25,000, making a total of nearly Rs 95,000, were found in his bank account.
The money was deposited by various students who were nations of Yemen and Palestine, it said. During the trial, Kumar claimed he was falsely implicated and had not received any amount from foreign nationals towards processing fee of their scholarship amount.
He claimed that the amount deposited by foreign nationals was towards books’ cost which they had purchased from his wife. His counsel sought leniency saying he has to support his family and would lose his job and government accommodation if sentenced for over three years in jail.