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HCS paper leak: Registrar-mastermind’s ‘close friendship’ nailed them

Aper chargesheet, “close friendship” between Balwinder and Sunita and call records confirming their proximity to each other is what helped unveil the scam,

punjab Updated: Jan 07, 2018 10:52 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
HCS paper leak,HCS paper,Balwinder
(Representative Image)

The HCS paper leak case was transferred to the special court for corruption cases on Saturday after a 2,140-page challan against former high court registrar (recruitment) Balwinder Sharma and alleged mastermind of the scam, Sunita, was filed. The challan also names 33 witnesses in the case.

The “close friendship” between Balwinder and Sunita and the call records confirming their proximity to each other is what helped unveil the scam, as per the chargesheet.

The special investigation team (SIT) sought their prosecution under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with Section 8 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) and Section 13 (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In addition to this, the accused will also face trial for causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender.

Three persons — Balwinder Sharma and two beneficiaries Sunita and Sushila — were booked by the police in the high profile case. A high court committee had recommended scrapping of the examination after finding that some candidates had access to the paper.

The committee had stated that at least two candidates, Sunita and Sushila, had the question paper. The committee had also stated that Balwinder Sharma unequivocally denied prior acquaintance with Sunita, the general category topper. The call details furnished by the service provider, on the other hand, revealed that 760 calls and SMSes were exchanged between Sharma and Sunita over the past one year.

Deal worth 1-1.5 crore,candidates name under investigation

The long chargesheet mentions intricate details elaborating upon the multiple meetings and phone calls through secret numbers between Sunita and Sharma. Sunita who resided in a temple in Sector 18 had managed to get two secret numbers through the canteen man there on a Jio SIM through which she made calls and remained in touch with people. The two were involved since 2014. The call records also confirmed her presence at a guest house in Kurukshetra among other locations there in December 2016 and later in January 2017.

While the investigation is still not complete, other names are also expected to come up as supplementary challan will be filed against Sushila and few other officials whose involvement in the scam is still being investigated. Chargesheet also throws light on how Sunita had asked Sushila to see if she can find at least two-three candidates willing to pay 1-1.5 crore for the question papers. Later, she had even demanded 25 lakh from Sushila. The SIT is currently probing the candidates to whom these papers were supplied.

On January 7, it would be three months since the arrest of Sunita and had the police failed to file the challan, as per protocol, Sunita could have got bail by default and hence the police wanted to make sure, the challan is filed, even if not complete, before that.

Importantly, the chargesheet also mentions how Balwinder Sharma had the papers in his custody and handed them to Sunita on July 10, 2017, at the Sector 23/24 dividing road between 7 to 8pm.

Sunita files fresh bail plea

Meanwhile, the alleged mastermind Sunita filed a bail plea on Saturday which will be taken up on Monday. Sunita has filed plea on the grounds that Sharma had already been arrested and certain documents that were required from the Supreme Court for investigation in this case had also been received.

She was earlier denied bail on the same grounds on December 19. Her counsel also claimed that since the challan had been filed, there was no other recovery to be made from her and hence she should be granted bail. She is currently in judicial custody and is to be produced next on Monday. Sharma, who is also in judicial custody, will be produced next on January 15.

First Published: Jan 07, 2018 10:30 IST