Ex-Punjab judge gets 4-yr RI in Rs 52 lakh disproportionate assets case
After 19 years, 204 hearings CBI special court also imposes fine of Rs 1 lakh on MS Walia besides ordering confiscation of assets to recover amount.punjab Updated: Dec 22, 2017 09:16 IST
The special court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)on Thursdayawarded four years rigorous imprisonment (RI) to former Punjab senior division judge Manmohan SinghWaliafor amassing Rs 52.4-lakh assets disproportionate to his income.
The case was registered in 1998. Walia, who was suspended in November 1997 and subsequently dismissed from service, was heldguilty of criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act on Tuesday.
- While the CBI stated Rs 53-lakh disproportionate assets, the court found the amount to be Rs 52.4 lakh
- After the CBI initiated probe, it found fixed deposits of Rs 3 lakh in the accounts of Walia’s family members. Walia had claimed that it was on account of the properties sold by him.
- Later, the CBI also seized documents pertaining to the agreement to sale and general power of attorney of the Sector 9 house from his possession.
- Debentures of Vardhman Mill worth Rs 12.5 lakh which were also encashed into Walia’s accounts were found
- Documents pertaining to an investment of Rs 25 lakh in the name of Sehgal Motors at Ludhiana was also unearthed
Pronouncing the sentence on Thursday, the court of special CBI judge Gagan Geet Kaur also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him besides ordering confiscation of some of his properties.
A total of 107 people were made witnesses in the case, which comprised 204 hearings, a period during which five CBI judges changed, said senior public prosecutors Pawan Kumar Dogra and Kanwar Pal Singh, who represented the CBI.
The CBI had registered a case against Walia on March 24, 1998, on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court (HC). Initially, Chandigarh Police had investigated the case after an HC internal probe found Walia guilty. On the HC’s complaint, the UT police had lodged an FIR against Walia, then a Bathinda court judge, on February 3, 1998.
The court had acted on the complaint of a Sector-9 resident and former HC lawyer BS Bindra and his wife Guddi Manjit.
Bindra had stated in his complaint that half portion of a house in Sector 9 was in his family’s name and the other half, in which Walia had started living, was in the name of HP Singh, a non-resident Indian (NRI), who was Walia’s “uncle”. Bindra had alleged that Walia had got the portion for himself in Singh’s name.
- While searching Walia’s house, the CBI also found incriminating documents and bank passbooks.
- Also 53 bottles of whiskey and a .12 bore double barrel breech loading gun and 295 cartridges were seized.
- Walia was also booked under the Excise Act and Arms Act, but later acquitted of the former charge.
The court ruled half portion of Walia’s house (No. 311 in Sector 9D), which was attached on June 7, should be confiscated and given to the UT administration.Similarly, movable property worth Rs 2.15 lakh — money in the accounts of Walia and his wife Parminder Kaur — are to be handed over to the UT administration under Section 452 of the CrPC.
Also property (movable/immovable) worth Rs 29.7 lakh will be forfeited to recover the remaining amount.
Walia’s wife and his elder son and daughter, both of whom are practising lawyers, were also present during the hearing. While the children were in the courtroom during the time of sentencing, his wife waited outside praying all the while.
The former judge had filed multiple petitions in the HC and Supreme Court, but on most occasions did not succeed in getting relief. Walia had alleged that Bindra had conspired to “frame” him with a former Punjab and Haryana HC judge, with whom Bindra practised at the Ludhiana courts and later at HC. However, the HC had termed the allegations “far-fetched”.