A Patiala court on Monday held former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu and three others guilty in the cash-for-job scam that was busted by the Punjab vigilance bureau in 2002.
The court of additional sessions judge Pushpinder Kaur will announce the quantum of sentence on Tuesday, said additional public prosecutor BS Dhammi.
The court held Sidhu, the then PPSC secretary Prithpal Singh, former Punjab Civil Services officer Purshotam Singh Sodhi and middleman Paramjit Singh Pammi guilty in the case. The court acquitted university professors Jaspal Singh and Gurpal Singh, who were charged with leaking the question papers.
The vigilance bureau registered a case against 11 persons in 2002 for corruption during the recruitment process. The accused included Sidhu’s brother Reetinder Singh and sister-in-law Ajinder Kaur, who had been declared proclaimed offenders. Sidhu’s mother Pritptal Kaur, Jagdish Kalra and Amarjit Singh, also accused in the case, died during the course of trial. The vigilance bureau had accused Sidhu of accepting bribe for recruitments through the PPSC between 1995 and 2002.
It’s the second case in which Sidhu has been held guilty. A Ropar district court had already sentenced Sidhu to six-year jail in the scam. A Patiala court also held 11 PCS (allied) officers guilty of securing jobs by paying bribe. Their appeal is pending in the Punjab and Haryana high court. The vigilance bureau recovered crores of rupees from lockers of Sidhu. The bureau found that Sidhu had amassed assets beyond his known sources of income. He was nabbed red-handed while accepting a bribe of ` 5 lakh from Bhupjit Singh, an excise and taxation inspector on March 25, 2002. The case was registered on April 30, 2002, against 11 persons for their direct or indirect involvement in the scam. During investigation, the police lodged four more first information reports under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471-A, 409 and 120-B of the Indian penal code and Sections 7, 13(1)(d)(i) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused.