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President’s medal winner Chandigarh cop gets two years in jail for taking bribe

Kumar, who is currently posted at Police Lines, was held guilty for demanding a Rs 50,000 bribe along with jeweller Subhash Kataria last week in a 10-year-old graft case.

punjab Updated: Apr 27, 2018 14:45 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Prez medal,medal winning cop,Chandigarh cop
Chandigarh Police sub-inspector Sanjiv Kumar was held guilty for demanding a Rs 50,000 bribe.(HT File)

President’s Medal awardee Sanjiv Kumar, a Chandigarh Police sub-inspector (SI), was awarded two years’ rigorous imprisonment in a 2008 graft case by a special CBI court, here on Thursday.

Kumar and a Sector 17-based jeweller, Subhash Kataria, were convicted on April 20 for demanding Rs 50,000 in bribe from a shopkeeper for evicting a tenant from his shop in Sector 17. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each on the convicts.

Soon after the sentence was pronounced, the cop was released on bail on a Rs 1-lakh surety bond.

Kumar was awarded the President’s Medal for distinguished service in the police force. He is currently posted at the Police Lines in Sector 26.

He was awarded the sentence under Sections 7, 8, 13 (2), 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), while Kataria was convicted under Section 8 of the PC Act, along with criminal conspiracy.

Another SI Ramesh Chand was acquitted.

As part of the 166-page judgment, the court observed, “...the common man has lost faith in law implementing agencies, be it state police or central agencies. This is unfortunate but it is truth.”

As Kumar pleaded for leniency in sentence, the court stated, “With passage of time, there seems to be a tremendous rise in corruption cases by public servants.”

Quoting the Corruption Perception Index 2016 issued by NGO Transparency International, the judgment stated that India ranked 79th among 176 countries. “Corruption is further considered one of the most important causes for prevailing structural violence,” the court said, adding that the Supreme Court had cautioned trial courts against leniency in corruption cases.

Although the judge claimed there was no ground for minimum sentence, the judgment stated that keeping in mind Kumar’s past service and character, two years were being awarded.

A group of nearly 15 supporters of Kumar were present during the hearing.

Arrested on book store owner’s complaint

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Kumar and Kataria on November 8, 2008, on the complaint of Arvind Kumar Pandey, a book store owner.

Pandey had alleged that the duo had demanded Rs 50,000 from him as a kickback for evicting a tenant from his shop located in Sector-17’s Bridge market.

Pandey could not have rented his leased booth as per rules, but had given it to a garment dealer Dinanath Mishra by showing him as his employee in the records.

The CBI had first arrested Kataria with the amount, following which they nabbed Kumar from a police post in the sector. Kataria had accepted the bribe at Kumar’s behest.

After investigation, the CBI had zeroed in on SI Ramesh Chand as an accused as his voice matched with the recorded conversation in which the demand for bribe was made.

Kumar was suspended soon after his arrest on November 12, 2008. However, Chandigarh Police reinstated him on May 7, 2010.

Earlier in January this year, former constable Jatinder Kumar was sent to two years in jail for demanding a ₹10,000 bribe.

Challan filed four years after arrest

While the arrests were made in November 2008, five years were lost as the charges were framed only in June 2013. Multiple applications were meanwhile filed by the accused against their arrest

The case included a relatively larger number of defence and prosecution witnesses. While there were 15 defence witnesses, there were 36 prosecution witnesses

The cross-examination of the witness lasted over a year. Recording statements of the defence witnesses also consumed a lot of time

The complainant could not provide the original call recordings, claiming he had lost it, and gave a copy in a CD. This was contested by the accused in the high court, and they refused to give a specimen voice sample. But on HC directions, they eventually give the voice samples.

How the case unfolded

• November 7, 2008: SI Sanjiv Kumar and jeweller Subash Kataria arrested for demanding Rs 50,000 bribe

• November 22, 2008: SI Kumar bailed out

• December 5,2008: Kataria bailed out

• July 2012: Chargesheet filed against accused

• June 6, 2013: Charges framed against accused

• June 1, 2017: Statements of accused recorded

• April 20, 2018: SI, jeweller held guilty; Another SI acquitted

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 16:41 IST