HomeLegal NewsOrissa High Court : 16 years after conviction, doctor acquitted in bribe...

Orissa High Court : 16 years after conviction, doctor acquitted in bribe case

Cuttack : A single-judge bench of Justice S K Sahoo of the Orissa High Court has set aside a conviction order of a special vigilance court and acquitted a government doctor who was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a year in a bribe case registered against him for having demanded and received Rs 300 from a patient 16 years ago. Dr Pradeepta Kumar Purohit was arrested by the anti-corruption wing of the state police on September 14, 1998, while he was working as an assistant surgeon in Kathiguda government hospital of Nawrangpur district.

The doctor had apparently taken the bribe from a local patient in lieu of a favorable medico-legal report.Berhampur-based special judge (Vigilance) court, after trial in the case, convicted the government doctor and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment.Challenging the conviction and sentence order of the vigilance court, Purohit had moved the high court in 2007 with a prayer to set aside the lower court’s conviction and sentence orders.

Setting aside the orders of the vigilance court, the single judge bench held that the offer by the bribe giver and the demand of the public servant have to be proved by the prosecution. “Mere acceptance or receipt of an illegal gratification without anything more would not make it an offence,” the HC observed.

Stating that the prosecution case suffers from serious infirmities, Justice Sahoo further observed that there is no sufficient, cogent and reliable evidence available on record to establish the doctor guilty in the case.Acquitting the doctor of all charges, the high court also discharged him from liability of the bail bonds and the surety.