Taking up a petition filed by former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu (62), seeking suspension of six-year sentence and release on bail in the 11-year-old cash-for-job case, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday issued notice of motion to the Punjab government.
The petition came up for hearing before the court of justice TPS Mann that directed the state to file reply by January 29, 2014. Sidhu, who is at present lodged in a Rupnagar jail, was on July 15 sentenced to six-year imprisonment and fined for Rs. 1.5 lakh by the Runagar special trial court.
The petitioner informed that because of incarceration, his family was gravely suffering. It was also submitted that he had filed an appeal against the trial court order in the high court and till the pendency of the appeal his sentence should be suspended.
The high court had earlier on August 18 refused to entertain his bail petition.
The vigilance bureau had caught Sidhu on March 25, 2002, while he was accepting Rs. 5 lakh as advance in bribe at his Sector-39 house in Chandigarh. An FIR was registered at the SAS Nagar vigilance bureau police station.
When the state vigilance bureau had opened his five bank lockers on April 19, 2002, an amount of Rs. 8.19 crore was recovered. It was in November 2002 that the Rupnagar court had framed charges and the trial had begun in the case.
Sidhu, a journalist with a national daily, was appointed chairman of PPSC in 1996 because of his proximity to the then Congress-led government's chief minister Harcharan Singh Brar.