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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Congress councillor Devinder Babla held guilty of cheating

2009 case: Opposition leader in MC House faces up to 7 years in jail, was booked for irregularities in allotment of platforms at Sec-26 grain market.

punjab Updated: Mar 28, 2018 13:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Devinder Babla
Devinder Babla

Allowing the state’s appeal, a local court on Tuesday held Congress councillor and leader of opposition in the Chandigarh municipal corporation House Devinder Singh Babla guilty in a cheating case pertaining to allotment of platforms at the Sector-26 grain market. The case dates back to 2009.

Babla, who has been sent to judicial custody, faces up to seven years jail. The quantum of sentence will be pronounced on March 31.

Case so far
  • August 2009: Devinder Singh Babla, then chairman of the market committee, booked for irregularities in allotment of 69 platforms at the Sector-26 grain market
  • December 2009: Babla surrenders in court
  • February 2010: UT police’s special investigation team’s chargesheet accuses him of cheating, forgery
  • April 2011: Key witness turns hostile
  • July 2014: Lower court convicts Babla of forgery, acquits him of cheating, releases him on a year’s probation
  • March 2018: Additional district and sessions judge accepts prosecution’s appeal, holds Babla guilty of cheating too; pronouncement of sentence on March 31

A lower court had convicted Babla under Sections 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), while acquitting him of Section 420 (cheating) in 2014.

Babla was then released on probation for one year in July 2014 by a civil judge in the junior division.

While Babla moved an appeal against the probation order, the prosecution appealed against his acquittal under Section 420. Both appeals were moved for trial in the court of additional district and sessions judge.

After arguments, the court on Tuesday dismissed Babla’s appeal while allowing the state’s appeal and found the Congress leader guilty of cheating too.

 Was market committee chief

In August 2009, Chandigarh Police had registered a case of cheating and forgery against Babla, then chairman of the market committee, and Rakesh, president of the arhtiya association of the Sector-26 grain market, for irregularities in the allotment of 69 platforms at the market.

According to the complaint, even as there were 59 licensees, 10 ineligible persons were also accommodated during the auction in July that year . Babla was booked after a shed, which had fallen, had to be reallocated.

Babla surrendered on December 28, 2009, after a local court issued orders asking him to appear before it or be declared a proclaimed offender.

Although key witness, GR Pillai, assistant secretary of the market committee, took a U-turn on his statement recorded with the police, another witness, Ranjit Singh, who was also an official of the committee, corroborated the allegations during the trial.

First Published: Mar 28, 2018 13:14 IST