Patiala: Nine Punjab government officials, five of them in active service, were on Friday convicted by a local court here in a cash-for-jobs scam case for having obtained their appointments through unfair means.
Additional Sessions Judge Rajinder Aggarwal ruled that the nine PPS officials had bribed their way into the service during the tenure of Ravinder Singh alias Ravi Sidhu as the chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) in the scam that goes back nine years.
Delivering his judgement, the court awarded one year prison terms to each of the nine officials even as it acquitted three others for lack of evidence. It also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each on the convicted persons.
Among those convicted on Friday were five serving officials Inderpreet S Kahlon, Balraj Kaur and her husband Pritpal Singh, Rajinder Singh Sidhu and Parminder Pal Singh. The rest included Bhupinderjit Singh, HL Bansal, OP Verma and Jasbir Sing have retired from the service.
The court acquitted Jarnail Singh, Jaspal Singh and Baljit Singh for lack of evidence. It, however, granted bail to all the convicted persons who said they would challenge the decision in a higher court.
The court has convicted the accused under Section 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act for giving bribe to the then PPSC chairman through middleman Randhir Singh Dhira.
The PPSC scam had rocked Punjab in 2002 when, after coming to power, Congress Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered a vigilance probe which subsequently revealed how candidates were selected after paying bribes.
Currency notes had reportedly tumbled out of the lockers of the then PPSC chairman who allegedly used to charge lakhs of rupees from prospective candidates to `sell` those seats of the prestigious PCS, Executive and Judicial services.