New Delhi: It has taken 26 years for the law to catch up with a former judge with a Delhi court convicting him on Wednesday for taking Rs 2000 as bribe from a firm owner to hush up a challan against his chemical factory.

Former Metropolitan Magistrate Gulab Tulsiyani, then posted at the Patiala House district courts, has been held guilty of demanding and accepting bribe as a public servant in violation of the the Prevention of Corruption Act and various provisions of the Indian penal Code.

Tulsiyani faces seven years' jail term as the maximum sentence for the offences proved against him. The court would to hear arguments on quantum of sentence.

"The post of a judicial officer is a very sensitive post, where decent behaviour, honest approach towards practical dealings are expected irrespective of the fact whether he is functioning in a court or attending his daily routine at his home.

"Society has deep-rooted faith in fair dealing with regard to working of a judicial officer, justice in wide sense is considered as pious act free from unblemished stigma and no person can be expected to do an overt act feeling superior to normal human being," Special CBI Judge V K Maheshwari said, while convicting Tulsiyani.

The convicted former judge, who retired in 1998, was caught accepting Rs 2,000 bribe at his Ramesh Nagar residence here on June 6, 1986 from Ajesh Mittal who had lodged a complaint with the CBI against Tulsiyani's demand of bribe from him.

Mittal had been issued a challan over some illegality involving his firm, Mittal Paints and Chemicals and Tulsiyani had demanded the bribe to hush it up.

During the arguments, CBI prosecutor Brijesh Shukla said the former metropolitan magistrate was caught red-handed, while accepting the bribe. The CBI had laid the trap to catch him on Mittal's complaint, he said.

The metropolitan magistrate had asked the complainant to pay the  bribe at his residence on June 7, 1986, the CBI said.

It said as Mittal was not willing to pay the bribe, he lodged a complaint with the CBI.

The agency had sent Mittal to Tulsiyani's residence with the bribe money and also with a tape recorder and after handing the amount to the judge, the complainant came out on the pretext of taking something from his car and called CBI sleuths inside, the charge sheet said.

On seeing the raiding team inside, the judge panicked and ran towards his toilet to flush out the bribe money, it said, adding that the accused did not succeed and was caught with the money.

While convicting the former judge, the court said the act of Tulsiyani entertaining Mittal at his house raised a question against the "decorum of a judicial officer".

"In the case in hand, entertaining the complainant, who was accused in a challan case pending in the court of accused, at his house, as such his act of entertaining with complainant raises a big question against the decorum of judicial officer; rather all these circumstances taken together supports the prosecution version," the court said.

(Agencies)