The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday suspended the sentence of former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman Ravinderpal Singh 'Ravi' Sidhu in the 2002 cash-for-job scam and also granted him bail.
The decision came from the single judge bench of justice Fateh Deep Singh on the petition of Sidhu, who had moved the high court seeking suspension of the sentence and the grant of bail in the 2002 scam. Sidhu had argued that the sentence given to a similarly placed co-accused had been suspended; besides, he had already served about two years and five months of the total awarded sentence of seven years.
"In view of the principle of parity and keeping in view that the appeal is not likely to be heard in near future, the application seeking suspension of sentence… is allowed," the high court bench said, adding that during the pendency of the admitted appeal, Sidhu be granted bail. On July 10, the bench had stayed a lower-court order of imposing `1-crore fine on the former PPSC chairman in the scam. The lower court had awarded seven-year imprisonment to Sidhu under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 465 and 471 (both related to forgery) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 13 (1) (a) (habitual accepting of graft by public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In 2002, Punjab Vigilance Bureau had accused Sidhu of accepting bribe for PPSC-conducted recruitment between 1995 and 2002. Later, the lower court had held that the candidates who had paid bribes had made it in, and merit had been ignored. It observed that question papers had been given in advance to bribe payers and their marks enhanced.