The sessions court has also asked Kumbaj to pay Rs500 as penalty, and his failure to pay it will lead to an extension of his sentence by another 15 days. Sources said that this is one of the rare instances when someone has been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for accepting a mere Rs50 as bribe.
According to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) sources, Kumbaj was arrested after laying a trap in reference to a complaint filed against him that he was charging Rs50 for a medical certificate to be issued through the Public Health Centre (PHC) of the village.
Talking to DNA, special director of ACB, Gujarat, Ashish Bhatia, said that it was ensured that the witnesses in the case did not turn hostile like it happens in most of the other cases. “We also monitored the court proceedings, which instilled confidence in the police investigation and in the witnesses also,” he said.
An ACB source said that Kumbaj was arrested red-handed accepting Rs50 from a client against the issuance of a medical certificate. According to section 7 of Prohibition of Corruption Act, any public servant accepting gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act should be punished.
The Supreme Court, in May 2012, had held that corrupt officials do not deserve any leniency even if the bribe amount is as small as Rs 50. BS Chauhan and Dipak Misra, the bench of the apex court, had said that the amount may be small but to curb this kind of activity, the legislature has prescribed a minimum sentence of six months. It should be borne in mind that corruption at any level does not deserve either sympathy or leniency, the bench had added.