A Delhi court on Wednesday sentenced five persons, including four Municipal Corporation of Delhi officials to four years in jail and the managing director of a firm to six years in prison in the first conviction in a 2010 Commonwealth Games scam case.
The case relates to the CWG street lighting scam, which had caused a loss of Rs 1.4 crore to the exchequer.
Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge Brijesh Garg awarded four-years rigorous imprisonment each to MCD superintendent engineer D K Sugan, executive engineer O P Mahla, accountant Raju V, the civic body’s tender clerk Gurcharan Singh and private firm Sweka Powertech Engineering Pvt Ltd’s Director J P Singh.
These five convicted persons were sentenced for various offences including criminal conspiracy, cheating and using forged documents as genuine under the Indian Penal Code and Section 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by public servant by corrupt means and abusing position) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court also jailed the firm’s managing director T P Singh to six years for the offences of cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery of valuable security, forgery for purpose of cheating, using forged documents as genuine under IPC Section 13(1)(d)(criminal misconduct by public servant by corrupt means and abusing position) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“In this case, the allegations proved against the convicts are quite serious in nature. They had conspired together and had cheated the MCD/Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi for forging the tender documents, a valuable security, and have also forged the tender opening register,” the judge said.
The firm was fined of Rs 70,000 by the court, which also slapped a fine of Rs 30,000 each on the MCD officials, Rs 42,000 on T P Singh and Rs 22,000 on J P Singh. All the five convicted persons were present in the court at the time of pronouncement of the order.
During the arguments on the quantum of sentence, prosecutor Praneet Sharma had contended that the convicts had caused a loss of over Rs 1.42 crore to the MCD and maximum punishment of seven years should be awarded to them.
The advocates appearing for the convicts, however, had sought leniency from the court. Advocate P K Dubey, representing 53-year-old T P Singh and 48-year-old J P Singh, had pleaded that they be released taking into account the period already spent by them behind bars, claiming it was they who had suffered loss and not MCD.
The street lighting scam is among the ten corruption cases relating to the holding of the mega sports event in October 2010.
CBI had said in the chargesheet, that tenders were invited by the civic agency in 2008 and various companies, including Sweska Powertech applied for it, while the MCD commissioner had approved only four companies.
As per the chargesheet, after opening of the tenders and announcing of the rates by Sugan in MCD, certain cuttings and interpolations in the tender papers of Sweska were made and amount quoted by it was increased, which led to a loss of about Rs 1.43 crore to the state exchequer and corresponding wrongful gain to the convicts.
The court had earlier termed Sugan as the “kingpin” of the conspiracy and had said the tenders were opened in his office on May 14, 2008, and he had allowed fudging of Sweska’s tender papers.
It, however, had discharged Philips India official Mehul Karnik, as it noted that the company initially participated in the tender process but ultimately did not submit the tender.
The prosecutor had argued that all the circumstances clearly indicated that the chargesheeted people were hand in glove with each other and had conspired together to cause a pecuniary loss of Rs 1.42 crore to MCD.
During the trial, the four MCD officials had claimed that the sanction granted by the then MCD commissioner to prosecute them was not valid in the eyes of the law. They had argued that the sanction was invalid as the commissioner was involved in the entire tender process.
The court, however, rejected their contention saying the sanction was valid and “no failure of justice” has been caused to them and the MCD commissioner had not participated in the tender opening process, when all the offences were committed by the convicts.
“MCD commissioner was never a part of the actual tender opening process on May 14, 2008, so it cannot be said that he was aware about the various illegalities committed by the accused persons, which were finally approved by him and the ‘corporation’. Therefore, no ground for ‘bias’, against the commissioner in granting sanction for prosecution of his subordinates, is made out, in the facts and circumstances of the present case,” the judge said.