Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 12
More than a year after the scrapping of HCS (Judicial Branch) Preliminary Examination 2017 over allegations of exam leak, the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to four suspects in the case—including then registrar (Recruitment) Balwinder Kumar Sharma—on Friday.
Pronouncing its order on bail pleas by Sharma, Sunil Chopra, Sunita and Sushila, a five-Judge Bench of the high court made it clear that the suspects shouldn’t tamper evidence and influence witnesses in the case. Suspects have been asked to deposit their passports with the authority concerned.
Appearing before the Bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice Rajan Gupta, Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia and Justice Arun Palli, Sharma’s counsel Ramesh Kumar Bamal denied wrongdoing and claimed that his client wasn’t in charge of the papers when they leaked.
The suspects have argued that they were illegally detained because a challan had already been made against them and that they ought to be released on bail. They’ve claimed that the phone calls investigators are believed to have intercepted between Sharma and another suspect were “fake” and had yet to be conclusively proved.
Advocate Puran Singh Hundal, who represented another suspect, Sunita, in the case, said his client had been imprisoned for nine months without trial, and that the “half baked” challan that investigators have presented was dumped by a trial court.
The examination for filling up 109 posts in the subordinate judiciary was conducted in July last year. A Punjab and Haryana High Court committee, through Haryana Public Service Commission, had invited application for filling up the posts.
Soon after the examination was conducted, a candidate, Suman, filed a petition for criminal investigations into what she claimed was a scam. Suman claimed she was contacted by two other candidates, Sushila and Sunita, claiming they had the examination paper. Suman also claimed she was told about at least two questions a day before examination. She claimed the suspects had demanded Rs 1 crore for the remaining questions, but she turned them down.