SERVESH KUMAR GUPTA, J. -
(1.) THIS is a Government Appeal against the judgment and order of acquittal dated 20.1.1999 rendered by the Special Judge, Tehri Garhwal while adjudicating the Special Trial No. 8/1998, State v. Tej Pal Singh and 3 Others. The learned Judge tried the accused respondents Tej Pal Singh, Nand Lal, Pradeep Kala and Nanhe for the offences under Section 7 read with Section 13, Section 8 read with Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (for brevity, hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') nay the offence of Section 420 read with Section 109 IPC, PS Narendra Nagar, District Tehri Garhwal and after conclusion of the trial, all the four accused persons were acquitted. Hence, this appeal has been filed on behalf of the State.
(2.) CO-accused Pradeep Kala (respondent no. 3) died during the pendency of appeal, hence appeal against him was abated by this Court vide order dated 27.3.2012.
It would be worthwhile to mention that Tej Pal Singh was Reserve Inspector of Police at Police Line, Narendra Nagar. Nand Lal was the Peon of the Sports Officer, who was posted in the adjacent district Rudraprayag. Pradeep Kala was a Teacher in Narendra Nagar and Nanhe was the Sweeper posted in the Police Line, Narendra Nagar, District Tehri Garhwal. Sports Officer along with his peon Nand Lal came from his original place of posting Rudraprayag to the place of occurrence at Narendra Nagar in connection with the recruitment of 50 police constables, which commenced on 30.6.1997 onwards and the said process was completed within five weeks. It can be discerned that for the recruitment of 50 police constables, thousands of candidates must have applied to get employment in the lowest rung of the police. It was a tough competition, which involved several physical tests to judge the fitness and competency of the candidates, besides the written examination and interview. It can also be understood that in such recruitments, the Reserve Inspector of Police Line plays a significant role, particularly in conducting the various tests pertaining to the physical fitness of the incoming candidates and so was the task assigned to Tej Pal Singh, which he was performing at the relevant time. Nonetheless, he was not in the Core Committee, which was directly responsible for conducting the various examinations for judging the suitability of the candidates. All the same, it cannot be gainsaid that Tej Pal Singh being the Reserve Inspector of Police had his prominence over the entire scenario of conducting the various examinations in sundry manner.
The process began for selecting the candidates and after completion of the same, 50 candidates were finally selected. After their selection, the Superintendent of Police, Tehri Garhwal Mr. Abhay Kumar Prasad, who was the President of the selection committee called the gathering of all the selected candidates in the recreation room of the Police Line on 6.8.1997. He vociferously delivered a speech among all the candidates in the presence of other members of the committee and subordinates staff and stated that the examination/various tests of the candidates were conducted in a very impartial and transparent manner and the candidates have got their selection on the strength of their own competency and ability. Superintendent of Police Mr. Prasad wanted to rule out the complicity of any member of the subordinate staff from being indulged in the corrupt practices and taking undue advantage or illegal gratification from any of the candidates so selected.
(3.) IN the first instance, since all the candidates belonging to the lower middle strata of the society facing a galloping problem of unemployment got the job, so they were initially scared and reluctant to disclose anything foul, but being encouraged by the speech of Superintendent of Police, one of the candidates got up and disclosed that rupees five thousand was taken by the Reserve Inspector of Police Tej Pal Singh from him in consideration for his advancement in the recruitment. Having been boosted up by the said disclosure of one of the candidates, another candidate Upendra Singh Bhandari also got up and told that rupees forty thousand was taken by the same Reserve Inspector through the sweeper Nanhe. Superintendent of Police immediately called the sweeper Nanhe, who was a Government Servant, posted in the police line itself, and asked to disclose the true facts. Nanhe was not ready to disclose the true facts, but when scolded by the Superintendent of Police, then he admitted the taking of rupees forty thousand and out of that rupees forty thousand, he had given rupees thirty thousand to Tej Pal Singh, Reserved Inspector of Police, rupees five thousand to co-accused Pradeep Kala, another mediator, and pocketed remaining amount of rupees five thousand as his own share. The Reserve Inspector was away from the headquarters on that day and was on duty at Kumbh Mela at Haridwar. He was immediately called by the Superintendent of Police from Haridwar.
Having received the call of the Superintendent of Police, Tehri through his superior officers, the Reserve Inspector reached to Tehri in the late evening on 6.8.1997. On being questioned, he disclosed the affairs and admitted the taking of the money. He also returned rupees thirty thousand at the same time to the Superintendent of Police Mr. Prasad. Since it was late in the evening, so the Superintendent of Police directed to keep this money in the treasury of the Police Line itself. On the next day i.e. on;