New Delhi: A retired bank officer has been awarded seven years jail in a graft case for misappropriation of public funds and causing loss to a PSU bank by a Delhi court which also sent his wife for three years in jail for conspiring with him.
The court observed that when the protector of public trust becomes destroyer, the root of the society is affected and the convict instead of guarding it, had indulged in defeating public cause by diverting bank's money for his personal gain.
Special CBI Judge Pitamber Dutt sentenced 61-year-old Paramjeet Singh Bakshi, the then Manager (Loans and Advances) in Punjab and Sind Bank, to seven years in jail for various offences including criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant, falsification of accounts under the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
His wife Charanjeet Kaur was sentenced to three years imprisonment for the offence of criminal conspiracy. She was granted bail for two months to enable her to file an appeal against the conviction and sentence.
The court imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 50,000 on Bakshi and Kaur, residents of Delhi, respectively.
It observed that being a manager in Punjab and Sind Bank in Delhi, Bakshi was the custodian of public money and public trust which citizens have reposed on a nationalized bank that their hard earned money would remained secure.
"However, convict Bakshi instead of acting as a guard of public interest, indulged in defeating the said public cause by diverting public money of the bank in furtherance of his criminal conspiracy with convict Kaur, who happens to be his wife for their personal gain.
"When the protector of public trust becomes destroyer, the very root of the society is affected. When a public servant who was working in a bank starts treating the public money as his personal property then he not only commits criminal breach of trust but erodes the faith of citizens of a country in banking institution," the judge said.
The case was lodged by the CBI on the basis of a complaint in August 2001, alleging that Bakshi conspired with his wife and caused huge pecuniary loss to the bank by fraudulently diverting public money in his loan accounts and a fictitious account of Kaur. It had alleged that Bakshi had then invested this money in purchasing shares from companies during 1997 to August 2000.
CBI had alleged that the man had taken staff loan from the bank and also made a fake loan entry of Rs 18.5 lakh in favour of his wife without any sanction of such loan.
It alleged that Bakshi had unauthorizedly diverted over Rs 2.5 crore in his and his wife's loan accounts and outstanding fictitious advances were Rs 69.5 lakh in the loan account at the time of detection of fraud.
The prosecution said Bakshi reluctantly returned Rs 42.3 lakh to the bank but failed to return the remaining amount and he in connivance with his wife has caused a loss of Rs 27.1 lakh to the bank which remained unpaid.
During the trial, the couple denied their involvement in the commission of offence and claimed that they have been falsely implicated in the case.
The court, in its 139-page judgement, said that being a public servant, it was Bakshi's duty to protect the interest of bank but instead of protecting it, he indulged in act of corruption and diverted huge public money by illegal means and obtained pecuniary advantage for himself.
It observed merely that he paid back the amount to the bank would not make the offence less serious.