Court convicts ex-union Minister’s PS in corruption case

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New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) A special court here has convicted the former additional private secretary of ex-Union Minister Sheila Kaul in a two-decade-old corruption case, and set September 5 for pronouncing order on quantum of sentence.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal convicted former government officer Rajan S. Lala of charges dealing with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The order was delivered on August 30 but it was released on Friday.

The case dates back between 1991 to 1994 when Kaul was minister for urban affairs and employment and irregularly allotted government shops in south Delhi.

The court however acquitted private person Asha Yadav, Virender Arora, Sant Lal Yadav and Sanjeev Saluja who were allotted shops.

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The court held that there was a “clear cut conspiracy” between Lala and Kaul, her then additional private secretary D.D. Arora and assistant private secretary S.L. Yadav.

Kaul, Arora and Yadav have died and proceedings against them have been abated.

The court has fixed the matter for September 5 for order on quantum of punishment.

The CBI had chargesheeted the four government officials, nine private persons in the graft case.

Out of the nine private persons, two died during trial, one was declared proclaimed offender, two were discharged and four acquitted by the court.

CBI had alleged that Kaul and another accused Tara Chaudhary, who was declared proclaimed offender, had entered into conspiracy during October 1991 to November 1994 to dishonestly or fraudulently obtain undue pecuniary advantage in allotment of shops on economic licence fee basis in contravention of rules.

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The court, in its 227-page judgement, said there was a huge pecuniary loss to the state exchequer and led to huge pecuniary advantage to private persons without any public interest.

“Such act of illegal allotments without looking after the interest of the state, which Kaul was obliged to look after being the Urban Development Minister, as the repository of the power of people was bound to protect which people had given to her by electing her,” it said.

It said allotment of shops made by these public servants to various accused, who were either related to them or known to Kaul, was “totally arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable and in violation of Article 14 of Constitution”.

It added that convict followed the norms of favouritism and nepotism while allotting shops.

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