A Faridabad court on Thursday granted bail to Haryana IAS officer Dharmender Singh who was arrested by the Faridabad police on May 15 for allegedly seeking illegal gratification in a 2022 case.
Additional sessions judge (ASJ), Faridabad, Amrit Singh granted regular bail to the IAS officer and asked him to appear before the court on June 13.
“This court after considering the fact that the custody of the accused is no more required by the investigating agency, except for taking his voice sample for which accused has given his consent, is of the view that no useful purpose would be served to keep the accused in custody. It is also pertinent to mention here that accused is a senior Haryana government officer and there is least possibility of his absconding from trial,” said the court while granting bail.
A case was registered in June 22, 2022, under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Kotwali police station in Faridabad on the complaint of one Lalit Mittal. Mittal, who has a construction company M/s Harchand Das Gupta, had alleged that he met one Pankaj Garg of Sector-15, Faridabad, six years ago. He alleged that Pankaj Garg introduced him to one RB Sharma who assured that they can get a big government tender or building construction work. The complainant (Mittal) alleged that he paid ₹1.11 crore to Rambir Sharma for getting a government contract.
Counsel for the accused Sanjiv Rao argued that the accused IAS officer is innocent and has been implicated. He argued that the allegations of the prosecution nowhere revealed that he demanded any money from the complainant or any other person. He said the entire case of the prosecution is vague because the complainant at the first instance has alleged that he has given the money for the contract work of Charkhi Dadri whereas there was no tender pending at Charkhi Dadri, as alleged in the FIR. He further pointed out that later on, the police recorded the supplementary statement and the complainant has changed his allegations that he has some tender work at Sonepat.
The counsel for the accused said the allegations against the present applicant are that he took bribe for recommendation of enhancement of work already allotted to M/s Harchand Dass Gupta, the firm of the complainant, and took bribe to the tune of ₹1 crore for the enhancement. He submitted that the enhancement of tender is not within the purview of the accused and he had sent it to director, urban local bodies (ULB) Haryana. Neither there is any transaction nor any evidence on record to show that applicant has received any amount or has any official dealing with the complainant. Public prosecutor argued a sum of ₹1.11 crore was paid by Lalit Mittal to RB Sharma out of which ₹11 lakh was given to Sharma and the remaining Rs. 1 crore was given to IAS officer Dharmender Singh. He argued that the IAS officer has not followed the guidelines issued by the ULB department. He argued that as per December 11, 2018, letter issued by director, urban local bodies, the tender amount may be increased upto 10% but if there is an increase of more than 10%, then a fresh tender should be invited.
“This court has meticulously examined the December 11, 2018, letter issued by the ULB department whereas the project in question was allotted in 2017. Although the investigating officer has stated that this letter has a retrospective effect. However, clause 5 of the letter clearly mentioned that these guidelines are applicable for future contracts. Therefore, this court is of the view that the present project does not fall within the ambit of said letter. During police remand, nothing has been recovered from the custody of the accused,” the ASJ’s court said.
It further said that when no recovery is to be made from the accused and he has consented to give his specimen voice samples, then the accused is entitled for concession of bail. The accused is directed to join investigation as and when required by the investigating agency, failing which the investigating agency may approach this court for cancellation of his bail. The accused is in custody since May 15, 2023 and it is settled law that bail is a rule and jail is exception. In the light of above, the present bail application is allowed and he is ordered to be released on bail on furnishing bail bonds in the sum of ₹1 lakh with one surety, the court said.