Former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Neera Yadav was on Tuesday sentenced to four-year imprisonment by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ghaziabad after it found her guilty of large-scale bungling in allotment of plots as chief of Noida Development Authority seven years ago.
CBI Special Court Judge A K Singh also convicted Chairman and Managing Director of Flex Industries Ltd Ashok Chaturvedi in the case and sentenced him to a four-year prison term.
The court also slapped fines of Rs 50,000 each on the two convicts.
After the pronouncement of the judgment, Yadav and Chaturvedi were sent to the Dasna District Jail. While Chaturvedi was handcuffed, Yadav was spared.
Yadav was found guilty of having violated the rules in allotting an industrial plot in Noida to Flex Industries. She had also been charged with allotting out of turn plots to bureaucrats, politicians, industrialists and her near and dear ones.
The petition against Yadav and others was filed by the Noida Entrepreneurs Association, alleging bungling in the allotment of land in different sectors and in commercial Sector 18 in Noida during her tenure as the head of Noida's Development Authority.
The former chief secretary, who was present in the court, broke down after the judge pronounced the verdict. She had earlier requested the court to give her a chair owing to her poor health. Chaturvedi was also there in the court.
The court, however, acquitted Yadav in a second case of land scam related to the allotment of land to Dr Mahesh Chand Sharma, chairman of Kailash Hospital in Noida. Sharma was also acquitted in the case.
Neera had heaved a sigh of relief when the judge first pronounced her acquittal in the Kailash Hospital case but broke down after hearing the second verdict.
The CBI had filed chargesheets against Yadav, Chaturvedi and Sharma and the cases were pending in the court for the last five years. Earlier, they had been granted bail by the court.
Yadav, who was chief secretary during the chief ministership of Mulayam Singh Yadav, had earned the dubious distinction of being the country's first IAS officer to be removed from the chief secretary's post by the Supreme Court on charges of corruption.
She was also tagged one of the 'most corrupt officers' in a poll held by the UP IAS association in 1997.
"I have full regard for the honourable court but I am innocent. I don't feel I have committed any wrong during the tenure of my service as an IAS officer," Yadav, who took voluntary retirement in 2007, told reporters.
The CBI chargesheeted her in 2002 in at least four graft cases and since then they were pending in the court. She had been charged with allotting plots out of turn to bureaucrats, politicians, industrialists and her near and dear ones.
Lawyers for Yadav and Chaturvedi said they will file for bail on Wednesday in the Allahabad high court.
Yadav and Flex industries owner Ashok Chaturvedi complained of chest pain soon after they were taken to Dasna jail on Tuesday but both were found fit after a medical examination.
"All medical facilities will be provided to Neera Yadav if she feels uncomfortable but she was normal at the time of medical examination," Jail Superintendent Virsh Raj Sharma said.
While Chaturvedi was placed in the general barrack with other criminals, Yadav was lodged in the women's cell, he said.
In the barrack, Yadav was provided two blankets and tea at her request, the official said.
"She will not be kept in a solitary cell of the jail and she will in the women's cell," Sharma said.
Yadav was not allowed to meet anyone inside the jail. Jail authorities said she will be allowed to meet people from Wednesday but outside food will not be allowed due to security reasons.