Unfaithful babus would jeopardise State’s integrity: Delhi Court

Delhi(PTI): The integrity of the State would be in “jeopardy” if public servants are not faithful as corruption has spread like a disease even among professionals, a Delhi court has observed while awarding varying jail terms to seven persons in a 20-year-old graft case.

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The court said six of the seven convicts were former senior officials of public sector undertaking Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and being the employees of the State, people had faith in them but they had committed the crime.

“Corruption has spread to such an extent in the society that it becomes disease among professionals, medical professionals, educational professionals or even the custodian of the nation i.e. politician of this country,” Special CBI Judge Jitendra Kumar Mishra said.

“No corruption can take place until and unless the public opinion gives it sanctity. Sanctity only comes when it becomes the life-style of people of the country,” the court said, adding, “it is the duty of public servants that they should remain faithful to the State, otherwise integrity of the State would be in jeopardy.”

The court awarded five-year jail term to five convicts, BHEL’s former Deputy General Manager V C Ramulu, its former senior manager Denis Barnabas, its former deputy manager O P Sharma, its ex-engineer P C M Jhammnani and a private person Anil Kumar Goel. It also imposed a fine of Rs five lakh on each one of them.

Besides them, the court awarded four-year jail to BHEL’s ex-senior engineer P L Khadala and three-and-a half-year jail to its assistant foreman S N Jha. It imposed a fine of Rs three lakh and two lakh on Khadala and Jha respectively.

CBI had chargesheeted the seven persons along with three others for causing a loss of Rs 2.8 lakh to the exchequer in passing bills for fixing of 242 ceiling fans at BHEL’s Noida township in 1990. Of the accused, one had died during pendency of trial and two others were discharged by the court in 2005.

In its judgement, the court said out of the total fine, Rs seven lakh should be paid to the CBI towards litigation expenses and Rs 3.5 lakh to BHEL towards compensation.

The court noted that these convicts were not only officers of the company but custodians of resources and assets of BHEL. However, they had joined hands with Goel and allowed commission of the crime by abusing their positions. It convicted them for offences under various sections of IPC, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and under provisions of the Prevention of corruption Act.

During trial, the defence counsel had argued that CBI was unable to prove its case and testimonies of prosecution witnesses were not supporting the agency’s matter. The court, however, convicted them observing that they were not able to furnish any explanation in opposition to the evidence brought by the CBI against them. It further held that Goel, being a contractor, had “joined hands to get illegal benefit with malafide intention to cheat the BHEL and all such accused persons instead of making BHEL richer, joined hands to get illegal advantage for themselves.”