New Delhi: A Delhi court has fixed September 30 to consider a CBI report favouring closure of a case lodged against Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and two others for sanctioning Rs 50 lakh grant to a trust allegedly in a "fraudulent" manner in 2001.
CBI has sought closure of the case for the second time, saying that despite conducting further probe as per a direction given by a court, which had not accepted its closure report filed in December 2008, the allegations levelled against Maneka and two others could not be substantiated.
Senior BJP leader Maneka Gandhi is now the Women and Child Development Minister.
An FIR was lodged by CBI in 2006 against Maneka Gandhi, Dr FU Siddiqui, former secretary of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) and Dr Vijay Sharma, former Managing Trustee of Gandhi Rural Welfare Trust (GRWT).
The FIR alleged that Maneka, in conspiracy with Siddiqui, had sanctioned a grant of Rs 50 lakh to GRWT from MAEF in an irregular manner to construct a nursing college building at Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh and caused undue favour to Sharma.
CBI alleged that further an amount of Rs 10.40 lakh was sanctioned to GRWT by SK Verma, the then District Magistrate of Pilibhit, from Maneka's MPLADS funds for purchase of two ambulances and the fund was released to Ramakant Rampal, the Managing Trustee of GRWT.
It had alleged that Rampal had purchased two jeeps which had cost much less than the approved models and failed to get them certified by the chief medical officer. The vehicles were also used for personal works by the managing trustee.
However, the agency again filed a closure report, saying "during the course of further investigation, the allegations levelled against Maneka Gandhi, Dr F U Siddiqui and Dr Vijay Sharma could not be substantiated."
"It is, therefore, prayed that the closure report dated December 30, 2008, collectively read with this report, may kindly be accepted," it said.
The FIR in the case was lodged for the alleged offences under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In its closure report, CBI said that the trust had purchased two jeeps with ambulance fixtures on September 15, 2003 for Rs 9,85,008, while the balance amount was returned to the government exchequer as per the terms of sanction.
"As such no financial irregularity could be pointed out in the matter of purchase of ambulances and the change in vehicle model was found to be on justified grounds," it said.
"Investigation further revealed that the DM, Pilibhit, approved purchase of two Mahindra Voyager ambulances. A cheque dated July 27, 2003 amounting to Rs 10.40 lakh was received by GRWT for purchase of Mahindra ambulances AC Euro-II."
"Since production of this model of vehicle was temporarily stopped, the company offered to sell Mahindra DI ambulance which according to the company was rugged, reliable and easily serviceable in semi-urban and rural areas," it said.
Regarding sanction of fund, CBI said during further probe it has come on record that since the sanction was subject to submission of document with regard to land and site plan, the amount was "released only after completion of the documentary formalities."
It said the funds released by both MAEF and district administration, Pilibhit, have been fully utilised by the GRWT for the purposes.