New Delhi: A 67-year-old retired Assistant Director General of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been sentenced to three years in jail along with Rs 75 lakh fine by a Delhi court in a 17-year-old case for possessing disproportionate assets of over Rs 13 lakh.
The court held guilty Vishwa Vibhuti, who was working as Assistant Director General in the ministry`s Government Medical Store Department (GMSD), for amassing assets of over Rs 72 lakh in his and his family members` names in 1996 though his known income was Rs 58,17,998.
While awarding the jail term to the convict, Special CBI Judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma said corruption in any form and of any quantum should be punished severely so that a message must go that "corruption should never be a profitable business".
"If the corrupt people are let off lightly, honest public servants also get discouraged and demoralised. Now a days, corruption not only creates imbalance in the society, it also obstructs the development of a nation as a whole.
"The convict before this court joined government service as a Class I officer. He was in the Medical Store Department and while being in the government job, he accumulated wealth which has proved to be disproportionate to his known sources of income," the court said.
The judge observed that "this case becomes more sensitive in view of the fact that convict (Vibhuti) was given a pious duty of acquiring medicines for the government hospitals and acquisition of wealth by indulging in corrupt practices in such a job is very serious."
The court, however, allowed Vibhuti`s plea and suspended his sentence till December 12 on furnishing a bail bond of Rs five lakh and two sureties of like amount with a condition for not to leave the country.
A case was registered by CBI against Vibhuti on May 15, 1996 on the allegations that while functioning as a public servant in the capacity of ADG, GMSD at Hyderabad and Delhi between June 1985 to March 1995, he accumulated huge movable and immovable assets worth Rs 72,68,258 in his and family members` names.
Vibhuti was suspended in July 1996 when he was posted as ADG in Kolkata. After investigation, a charge sheet was filed in the court against him in July 1998.
He has been held guilty under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to public servant possessing pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his known sources of income and criminal misconduct.
The court also pulled up CBI and recorded its extreme displeasure over the quality of investigation conducted by the probe agency.
"This court has no hesitation in saying that it seems entire machinery failed including the supervisory officer who failed to discharge their duties. Even the basic premises of computation of income and expenditure have been applied wrongly and there are gross mistakes in the calculations.
"This all shows that investigation was conducted mechanically by the investigating officer (IO). It seems that IO by way of blunders committed by him tried to ensure that accused goes scotfree and regretfully the supervisory officers allowed him to do so," the judge said.
The court also said that an attempt has been made to drive the entire justice delivery system at the whims and fancies of IO.
It also said that the investigation conducted by IO was either "mindless, careless or malafide" and if the court shuts its eye on these points, it would be allowing illegality to be perpetuated.
Vibhuti, who has a wife and three daughters, had sought leniency, saying he has suffered agony of trial for 17 years, besides financial loss on account of this case.
He also submitted that due to the case, he did not get any increment and promotion in his job and was also not getting full pension and other benefits.