New Delhi: A public servant cannot expect leniency on the ground that the bribe he took was a very small amount, a Delhi court has said while sentencing a DDA official to three years imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine for taking Rs 1,000 bribe to allow illegal construction.
   
"It is pertinent to mention here that a person who is caught accepting bribe cannot be dealt with lenient view on the ground that he accepted a very small amount, for the reason that when the accused was caught, this might have been one of those innumerable occasions when he had accepted bribe.
   
"Corruption is like a disease and once it goes into the blood, then a person sometimes become so compulsive that he or she would not spare anyone and would go to any extent for taking the bribe," Special CBI Judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma said.
   
The court sentenced Delhi-resident Raj Kumar Verma, who worked in Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in 2009 and demanded bribe to allow unauthorised construction at the premises of Nanhe Ram, a businessman.
   
The court said that the punishment cannot be reduced "merely because the accused happens to be a petty clerk or a peon or was caught while accepting a small amount as a bribe for doing some little favour".
   
The Special Judge also said the accused cannot benefit by the plea that the construction was unauthorised as that does not give him a right to demand bribe.
   
"Be that as it may be, even if the complainant (Nanhe Ram) was raising unauthorised construction, it would not give the right to the accused or anybody to ask for the bribe.
   
"If the accused was doing something wrong, the duty of the accused or any other public servant would be to initiate legal action against him. The demand of bribe cannot be justified on the ground that the complainant or the bribe giver himself was at the wrong," the court said while holding Verma guilty of corruption.
   
After his conviction, 52-year-old Verma had pleaded for lenient punishment saying he is suffering from multiple ailments including damaged liver, chest infection, cataract problem and high blood pressure and that he is the only person to look after his wife and 85-year-old mother.
   
The court rejected Verma's plea saying "corruption in a civil society is a serious disease, which is leading this country towards disastrous consequences".
   
"The time has come when if harsh steps are not taken this country may crumble under the weight of corruption. Corruption is not only anti-people but it has the potential of destroying the democracy and polity of the country," the judge said.
   
"In the present case, the convict has almost gone to the extent of extortion of money. The court has to be taken into account harsh reality that corruption has become so rampant that leniency in awarding punishment is not desirable," the court said.
   
Verma was booked in 2009 on Nanhe Ram's complaint to the CBI. The agency had laid a trap to apprehend Verma red handed while accepting bribe and successfully proved the case against him the case.

(Agencies)

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