New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) After almost 25 years, a court here on Friday awarded seven-year jail term to former Haryana assembly Speaker Satbir Singh Kadian, 66, in a 1991 IFFCO case allegedly planned by stock broker Harshad Mehta, since deceased.
The court also convicted four others in the case, including three former officials of UCO Bank.
Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge Jitendra Kumar Mishra turned down the plea of Indian National Lok Dal leader Kadian for leniency.
It said that as the then Speaker he was a role model for the country and if such person were to be given minimum punishment, it will affect the morale of the entire nation.
“The most peculiar fact in this case is that convict No. 1 (Kadian) is the elected representative of the people of his constituency and he was also the Speaker of the Haryana assembly, maybe after the commission of crime.”
“It is his duty and the duty of other convicts also that they should remain faithful to the State, otherwise the integrity of the State would be in jeopardy,” the court said and asked him to pay Rs 50 lakh as fine.
“Kadian was chairman of IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited) and he should feel proud that the people reposed faith in him as it is his own argument that it was a political post. But instead of proving their faith, he committed the crime by joining hands with other convicts and hatching a conspiracy as per the illegal design of Harshad S. Mehta (accused who has died),” the court said.
The court also awarded seven-year jail terms to UCO Bank’s former Assistant Manager (Funds) Vinayak Narayan Deosthali,64, the bank’s former Senior Manager (Deposits) Sunil Gorawara,70, and IIT alumnus Anil Kumar Malhotra, 65.
The court sentenced UCO Bank former Senior Manager (Cash) Karuna Pati Pandey, 84, to two years in prison in view of his old age and financial burden.
The court said he has suffered punishment during the trial for a single mistake committed by him as he was part of the conspiracy.
The court said it was Pandey’s duty to stop any wrongdoing and if he had ensured this, such a conspiracy would not have been achieved.
The court held the convicts guilty of cheating public money to the tune of Rs 4 crore.
The CBI had alleged that Kadian was working as the IFFCO chairman from February 1, 1991, to April 24, 1991, and invested IFFCO’s surplus funds of Rs 32.90 crore at lower rate of interest and thus caused a loss of over Rs 15 lakh to the organisation.
It alleged that in one transaction, Rs 4 crore was released by IFFCO for investment in the UCO Bank but the sum was credited to Harshad Mehta’s account through his Delhi-based representative M.D. Khandelwal, who turned approver in the case.
Mehta expired during the trial and proceedings against him stand abated.
the CBI had accused Deosthali for acting as an agent of stock broker Harshad Mehta.
The court said: “Malhotra, who is an IIT alumnus, studied in an institution which was funded by the State, i.e., he should be indebted to the people of this country for providing him an opportunity to enrich himself with knowledge by studying in the premier institution.”
“…he (Malhotra) also joined hands with Harshad S. Mehta towards exploitation of funds of institution like IFFCO and hatched conspiracy alongwith other accused in this case,” it added.