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27 years on, retired Chandigarh colonel gets 5 year-jail in disproportionate assets case

Colonel BS Goraya (retired), 75, has been held guilty under Sections 13(1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

punjab Updated: Aug 23, 2017 13:06 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
retired Chandigarh colonel,5 year-jail,disproportionate assets case
Col BS Goraya (retd), 75, at the CBI court on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

Twenty-seven years after a retired colonel was booked for corruption, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court awarded five years jail to him on Tuesday.

Colonel BS Goraya (retired), 75, has been held guilty under Sections 13(1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI court has also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him, for acquiring properties disproportionate to his assets. It was among the oldest cases at the Chandigarh district courts.

A long delay
  • The FIR was registered on August 6, 1990, post which Col Goraya was put under suspension on August 17,1990, and dismissed from service on March 19, 1993
  • The challan in the corruption case was filed by the CBI in 1993, as the inquiry was pending all this while
  • The cross-examination and recording of evidence by investigating officer Makhan Singh alone took seven years. It was carried out through video-conferencing from the PGIMER as Col Goraya developed a serious heart ailment
  • The defence got seven months to present witnesses
  • According to defence counsel SPS Bhullar, who especially summoned the senior superintendent of police (SSP) when the case was registered, SSP Negi did not give clear answers during cross-examination. He stated he didn’t remember most of the facts during the investigation
  • The retired colonel didn’t engage a lawyer initially and was “forced” to appear in person. He deposed in court on Tuesday that only towards the “fag end of the case, was he able to engage a lawyer”
  • As per judgment, the convict stated that he appeared in different courts (including high court and Supreme Court) over “500 times” and never sought a single adjournment or missed any hearing

“Being a senior army officer, he was having a responsibility to keep a watch over the conduct of his subordinates,” stated the judgment. “Instead of becoming a role model for society and bring pride for the nation, he grossly misused his high position and committed criminal misconduct to accumulate huge wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income by illegal means.”

Between January 1, 1987, and August 8, 1990, Goraya, a Sector-9 resident, and some of his family members — wife Parveen Goraya, daughter Manveen Goraya and one Guninder Singh — acquired properties valued at ₹82.6 lakh. Of these, they could not account for properties worth Rs 72.7 lakh, the CBI had claimed. However, while pronouncing the order, the court of Gaganjeet Kaur said assets worth Rs 66.94 lakh were disproportionate to his known sources of income.

A case was registered against the Colonel General Staff (engineer headquarters, Western Command) in August 1990. During the hearing on Tuesday, Goraya pleaded for leniency in sentence, stating that he was 75. He said his wife was 72 and a heart and diabetes patient, hence dependant on him.

In February this year, the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Akshdeep Mahajan had sentenced Goraya to two-year rigorous imprisonment for selling his agricultural property that had been attached in Punjab.

The CBI had also pointed that Goraya had not paid any property returns, except in 1987, after joining the army. In March this year, the HC dismissed a plea in the case in which Goraya had challenged the trial court decision of not allowing examination of additional 84 witnesses in July 2016.

Senior public prosecutor Pawan Dogra and public prosecutor KP Singh represented the CBI.

Unexpected, says family

Family members, including the septuagenarian’s wife, daughters, son and grandson, and other well-wishers were present in court the entire day. The former army officer ,who was seen lifting his family’s spirits before the quantum was pronounced, looked equally grim after the judicial magistrate pronounced the order.

Disturbed by what they called “unexpected”, family members were seen consoling each other as Col Goraya requested the cops to let him talk to his daughter in private.

The defence plans to move an appeal in the high court as early as this week.

WhatCourtSaid

“.. the convict who was at the rank of colonel... would lose the confidence of common man... but also is an alarm to national security. Though the incident relates to the 80s, its significance... has not diminished with passage of time.”

“If person holding higher position indulges in corruption, not only those below get encouraged... but also those in higher position will not be in a position to extract honesty from them or take action against delinquent officials.”

‘Confiscate Rs 67-cr assets’

The court ordered confiscation of assets to the tune of Rs 66.94 lakh from the convict. The assets that were found disproportionate to Col Goraya’s income included:

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 13:06 IST