SINGAPORE - A law graduate who was earlier charged with engaging in a conspiracy to dupe the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (Sile) had his cheating charge withdrawn in a district court on Friday (July 2).
Mr Manish Kalra, who used to be known as Shree Manish Kalra Jeetender Kumar Kalra, now 28, was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal, which means the Singaporean cannot be charged again with the same offence.
The court heard that before his charge was withdrawn, he had been granted permission to travel to Turkey for work and was supposed to return to Singapore by May 20.
Eight days later, he applied through his legal team for an extension to remain overseas.
Mr Kalra finally returned to Singapore on June 6 and faced District Judge Terence Tay in court on Wednesday.
He told the judge that Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were not widely available in Turkey.
Mr Kalra added that he travelled to Belgrade - the capital city of Serbia - in early June to take one before returning to Singapore.
Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority states on its website: "Depending on the travellers' travel history and Safe Travel Lane used to visit Singapore, travellers may be required to take a PCR test within 72 hours before departing to Singapore."
Mr Kalra had been accused of working together with lawyer Sarbrinder Singh Naranjan Singh, 50, to cheat Sile in 2016. Singh had his cheating charge withdrawn in April.
Mr Kalra had been accused of submitting to Sile a letter purportedly signed by Singh.
It is said to have contained false information that Mr Kalra had received the "necessary supervised training" at Kertar Law between Oct 11, 2015, and April 11, 2016.
In an earlier statement, the Attorney-General's Chambers said: "The defence had raised new evidence for the cheating charge, including statutory declarations from Mr Singh's clients, which Mr Singh only provided to the prosecution about 12 months after the charges were preferred.
"The (discharge amounting to an acquittal) was applied for after further investigations into the evidence."
Singh still has five other pending charges against him, including one count of criminal intimidation.
The court had earlier heard that he will be claiming trial to these five charges.