A special CBI court of Panchkula Monday sentenced Nitin Garg, a former Deputy Commissioner of the Income Tax department from Haryana, to four years of rigorous imprisonment for demanding a bribe of Rs 2 lakh from a private firm proprietor in 2016 in exchange for giving relief while levying tax penalty.
The court, meanwhile, acquitted co-accused Prince Kumar, who had allegedly accepted the bribe on behalf of the convict at the time.
Stating that corruption by ‘public servants’ needs to be checked, the single bench of Special Judge Sushil Kumar Garg, observed, “The duty of the court is that any anti-corruption law has to be interpreted and worked out in such a fashion as to strengthen the fight against corruption. Corruption in a civilized society is a disease like cancer, which if not detected in time is sure to afflict the every walk of life leading to disastrous consequences…”
Stating that the sentence has been declared keeping in mind all attenuating circumstances, peculiar facts of the case and his age, character, antecedents, disease, financial conditions and family circumstances, the order read, “The main purpose of the sentence broadly stated is that the accused must realize that he has committed an act which is not only harmful to the society of which he forms an integral part but is also harmful to his own future, both as an individual and as a member of society. Punishment is designed to protect society be deterring potential offender as also by preventing the guilty party from repeating the offence; it is also designed to reform the offender and reclaim him as a law abiding citizen for the good of the society as a whole. This court fully agrees with arguments and observation made by Public Prosecutor that undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would be more harmful to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in efficacy of law and corruption is a hydra headed monster and it is eating into vitals of the country.”
Garg has been sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, along with a fine of Rs 1 lakh and rigorous imprisonment of four years under section 13(1) (d) punishable under section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act along with a fine of Rs 3 lakh. Both sentences will run concurrently.
As per the judgement copy, accused Prince has been acquitted as the prosecution has failed to prove that he had connived with accused in the commission of above said offences, though it has been established that he has received the amount of Rs 2 lakh from the complainant on the instructions of accused Nitin Garg and was acquitted “while giving him benefit of doubt.”
It was in 2016 that the CBI had arrested Nitin Garg deployed in Sirsa at the time, for accepting a bribe of Rs two lakh from a private firm proprietor for giving relief while levying penalty. The proprietor of the private firm based in Sirsa had received an I-T notice seeking certain information under Income Tax Act for the assessment year 2013-14. It was alleged that the complainant was threatened that in case the bribe was not paid, heavy penalty will be imposed on him. The investigating agency had then laid a trap and the two accused had been arrested while accepting the bribe.
“Searches were conducted at the residential and official premises of the accused which led to recovery of cash Rs 15.60 lakh, gold weighing 1620 grams, diamonds worth around Rs 60 lakh, silver amounting to Rs five lakh, 26 bank accounts in his name and that of his family members,” a CBI statement in 2016 had said.