CONVICTED IN a seven-year-old graft case for taking a bribe of Rs 50,000 from a Kharar resident, the special CBI court of Chandigarh Friday sentenced Punjab Police Service (PPS) Officer Paramdeep Singh Sandhu to three years’ imprisonment. The convict was bailed out after furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh.
On Friday, during the arguments over the quantum of sentence, while pleading leniency, Sandhu stated that his wife had been suffering from depression due to the case and he lost all his earnings and image during the trial. He further pleaded with the court that as he was going to lose his job, a lenient punishment should be given. But, the CBI Public Prosecutor, Kanwar Pal Singh, argued that though Sandhu was AIG Vigilance and bound by duty to curb corruption, he had himself indulged in corruption. He was holding a high post in the vigilance department and his juniors looked up to him and now, if he was not given a stiff punishment, it would neither help in curbing corruption nor send a message to society and to those prone to such activities.
The public prosecutor further argued that since corruption was spreading like cancer, strict punishment should be given to send a message to society. Also, whatever Sandhu had lost or going to lose was because of his own deeds, added the PP.
After hearing the arguments, the 54-year-old convict was sentenced to imprisonment under sections 7, 13 (2) read with 13 (1) D of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The CBI court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Gagan Geet Kaur also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Sandhu on Friday.
According to CBI, on July 12, 2011, the CBI arrested Sandhu, posted as AIG Internal Vigilance Cell (IVC) at the Punjab Police Headquarters while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from Nishant Sharma, former office-bearer of Shiv Sena (Hindustan), at Cafe Coffee Day in Sector 28.
Sharma, in his complaint to CBI, stated that Sandhu had demanded a bribe of Rs 3 lakh from him to help him with an inquiry being conducted by SP (IVC), Punjab Police. Sharma told CBI that some criminal cases were registered against him by the Punjab Police at Phillaur PS and Kurali at the instance of Raj Balwinder Singh Marar, DSP Punjab Police. So, Sharma met the Punjab home secretary, who ordered IVC Superintendent of Police Balwant Kaur to conduct an inquiry. Sharma then met Sandhu, who was the AIG then. Sandhu told Sharma that he would get his work done from Balwant Kaur. After a few days, Sharma again met Sandhu, who then demanded Rs 3 lakh to help him with the probe and also threatened him that he could either be booked for lodging a false complaint against the DSP or get his case sorted by paying a bribe.
So, the deal was struck at Rs 3 lakh. After an initial payment of Rs 1 lakh to Sandhu, Sharma was supposed to give another Rs 1 lakh to him. But he brought only Rs 50,000 as he was reportedly not satisfied with Sandhu’s handling of his complaints. Sharma then approached the CBI, which laid a trap and arrested Sandhu while taking the bribe.