Ex-Punjab minister Tota Singh acquitted in PSEB job scam
During his tenure as minister in 2000 and 2001, Tota was accused of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the recruitment of 134 clerks and 60 assistants.
A Mohali court has acquitted former education minister, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Tota Singh, in a 16-year-old case related to recruitment in the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) on Wednesday.
During his tenure as minister in 2000 and 2001, Tota was accused of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the recruitment of 134 clerks and 60 assistants. The vigilance bureau had registered the case in 2001 and the charges were framed in 2007.
Five other co-accused with him, part of the selection committee for recruitment, were charged with the tampering of the recruitment result. They have been sentenced to three-year imprisonment under sections 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused are Jora Singh, Amar Singh, former secretary Jagjeet Singh Sidhu and the then joint secretary Paviter Pal Kaur. One of the accused, Tirath Singh, had died during trial. All of them have got bail after they furnished the bond of Rs 1 lakh each.
“I was falsely implicated. I had no role in appointments in the PSEB as it is an autonomous body. I neither appointed the board chairman nor I did I form the selection committee,” said Tota.
His counsel, Satnam Singh Kaler, said the former minister was charged under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, even though he had no role in making appointments in the board.
HC had dropped accused of graft charges
The accused had approached the Punjab and Haryana high court against the corruption charges and got dropped from these. However, a case under other sections continued in the district court. In these cases, the vigilance bureau had filed the FIR in 2002, with the court framing charges in 2007. There were 20 witnesses in the case and many of them turned hostile.
Those convicted had signed a file relating to recruitment of clerks .