7 Jun 2023 4:46 AM GMT
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed the petition filed by IAS officer Vijay Singh Dahiya seeking anticipatory bail in a corruption case registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Panchkula.Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill dismissed his argument that the Vigilance officials could not find anything against him despite having interrogated him at length.“Co-accused Poonam, who was...
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed the petition filed by IAS officer Vijay Singh Dahiya seeking anticipatory bail in a corruption case registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Panchkula.
Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill dismissed his argument that the Vigilance officials could not find anything against him despite having interrogated him at length.
“Co-accused Poonam, who was caught red-handed accepting the amount, in her disclosure statement, has stated in unambiguous terms regarding complicity of petitioner. Although, the petitioner was let off after questioning on 20.4.2023 but the same cannot be construed as a pointer to his innocence. Rather, it shows that the investigating agency chose to be sure and collected sufficient evidence against the petitioner before initiating any proceedings to arrest him,” said the court.
It further said that it is a case warranting custodial interrogation as finer details of modus-operandi and details of other identical instances of clearance of bills are to be unearthed.
"Some other training providers have already come forward alleging that even in their cases, the petitioner had accepted illegal gratification. There is a strong apprehension that the petitioner, because of his position, will try to influence witnesses," Justice Gill added.
An FIR under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 381 and 120 of the IPC was registered on the complaint of one Rinku Manchanda, who runs an educational institute, and is a training partner under the Haryana Skill Development Mission. An amount of Rs 50 Lakh was due to be paid to him by Skill Department, Panchkula but despite having been pursuing the same for the last about 3 years, the same had not been released to him, it was alleged.
Manchanda approached Deepak Sharma, posted as a CSO in the Skill Department, regarding the outstanding payments. Deepak Sharma allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs. 5 lakhs to clear the bills. When the bills remained unpaid, Deepak Sharma suggested that Manchanda contact a lady named Poonam Chopra, who is stated to be an acquaintance of Dahiya, the Commissioner, Haryana Skill Department, Panchkula.
Chopra allegedly demanded an amount of Rs 5 lakh to get the bills cleared. Rinku Manchanda agreed and paid Rs. 2 lakhs to Poonam Chopra. As Manchanda did not wish to make the remaining payment, he reported the matter to the Vigilance Bureau, leading to the lodging of the FIR. A trap was set, and Poonam Chopra was caught accepting Rs. 3 lakhs in illegal gratification from Manchanda in a parking area in Panchkula.
According to prosecution, Chopra allegedly admitted that Manchanda had met her in respect of the clearance of his bills, and she had accordingly talked to Vijay Singh Dahiya about the same. A deal was struck for payment of Rs 5 lakh as bribe for clearing the bills, and she had already received Rs 2 lakh from the complainant, she is alleged to have confessed.
Later, Rs. 2 lakhs were recovered from Poonam Chopra's office drawer in Janakpuri, Delhi. Deepak Sharma, the CSO of the Skill Department, was also arrested.
When Chopra was caught, she allegedly disclosed that Vijay Singh Dahiya was waiting for her at a cafe in Chandigarh, where she was supposed to hand over the bribe amount of Rs. 3 lakhs to him. The authorities accompanied Poonam Chopra to the specified location, where Vijay Singh Dahiya was already waiting for Poonam Chopra and where they sat for about an hour and had snacks.
Dahiya was issued a notice to join the interrogation at the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Panchkula, where he was questioned but later released.
Dahiya’s counsel contended that he had been falsely implicated and that there was no evidence worth credence to show that he had ever demanded or accepted any bribe. The counsel added that, at best, the prosecution might successfully establish that the complainant paid some amount to Poonam Chopra, who was known to the petitioner.
Case Title: Vijay Singh Dahiya vs State of Haryana (ACB) CRM-M-25567-2023 (O&M)
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (PH) 108
Present:- Mr. Vinod Ghai, Senior Advocate with Mr. Arnav Ghai and Mr. Vipin Yadav, Advocates, for the petitioner.
Mr. Deepak Sabharwal, Addl. A.G. Haryana, assisted by ACP Varinder Singh, Anti Corruption Bureau, Panchkula.
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