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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Middleman already knew I would get 7 years: Bansal

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, September 11, 2013
First Published: 22:19 IST(11/9/2013) | Last Updated: 22:21 IST(11/9/2013)

Former MLA and Akali leader Mangat Rai Bansal, who had lodged a complaint with the Punjab and Haryana high court against former Patiala CBI judge Hemant Gopal, leading to his suspension, had alleged that the middleman, who had contacted him for bribe to be let off in a paddy embezzlement case, already knew about the quantum of sentence much before it was pronounced.

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Bansal also alleged that the judge had more than one middleman and three such men had approached him for bribe.

Bansal alleged, "The middleman had briefed me that I would get seven years, much before the conclusion of the trial and advised me to 'buy the acquittal'."

In his complaint, which was supported by a CD featuring the Rs. 40-lakh bribe money exchanging hands, Bansal had told the high court that besides Sushil Singla, the judge had other middlemen. Bansal alleged that the judge's brother, who is a doctor at Barnala, also worked as a conduit.

"Since Hemant Gopal joined the CBI court as special judge, the middlemen started approaching us. I came to know that the judge was working through at least four to five persons, three of whom -- Sohan Lal of Barnala, Rajinder Gupta of Muktsar and Sushil Singla - did contact me," reads the complaint, in which Bansal has given the mobile numbers of these men.

"I have come to know that the judge maintains seven to eight mobile phones and frequently keeps changing them. I could find four of his phone numbers," reads the complaint.

In his statement to the high court, Bansal said, "To test the claims that Singla knew Gopal, I, on the morning of April 15, the date fixed for the verdict, asked Singla to take a date for April 20. And the judge gave the same date, giving us enough hints that the two were hand in glove.

On April 17, Parminder Singh (another accused in the case) gave Singla the bribe money while I kept it pending for the next day. As I failed to pay up, the judge awarded me seven years' rigorous imprisonment, and acquitted Parminder."

During the course of the preliminary inquiry, the high court also recorded the statement of driver Parvinder Singh, who had allegedly been hired by Bansal to drop Singla to Gopal's house to hand over the money.

Despire repeated attempts, Gopal was not available for comment.

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