SC discharges Sanskrit Varsity VC in graft case
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Last Updated: Monday, March 28, 2011, 19:06
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday discharged former Kerala Chief Secretary R Ramachandra Nair of corruption charges in setting up of the country's first Sanskrit University at Kalodi in Kerala's Ernakulam district, the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya.

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan rejected allegations that Nair had caused a pecuniary loss of over Rs 50 lakh in award of contracts for filling up the water logged 42.5 acres of land acquired by the Kerala government on behalf of the university in 1990.

The apex court also wondered why the state vigilance department chose to file the FIR and chargesheet eight-and-a-half years after the alleged offence, despite the fact that the government itself recommended dropping of the charges since Nair had acted in good faith.

"It is not clear why the prosecution has waited for nearly eight-and-half-years to file the charge-sheet or waited until the death of the contractor and until the Assistant Executive Engineer who prepared the quotation for the work and in-charge of the work got promoted as Executive Engineer and then as Superintending Engineer and retired from service on superannuation and left the country for working in UAE before filing the chargesheet in the court.

"It is not clear, in spite of such decision at the highest level, namely, Chief Secretary to government, no follow up action was taken before the concerned courts seeking permission to withdraw the criminal proceedings pending against the appellant.

"In terms of Section 114 of the Evidence Act, 1872 this court may legitimately draw a presumption that the government had taken a conscious decision exonerating the appellant even in 2006 and there is no reason to doubt the integrity of the appellant," Justice Sathasivam said.

Nair, incidentally, was the first vice chancellor of the University between January 1, 1994 to June 30, 1996.

Cases were registered against Nair and four other persons under Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Sections 120-B and 463 IPC only in 2005.

On June 30,6.2005, a charge-sheet was filed in the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thrissur with a delay of eight and a half years after the FIR and without obtaining the previous sanction of the Syndicate of the University under Section 50(2) of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit Act, 1994.

In the FIR, the pecuniary loss caused to the University was indicated as Rs 59,51,543 whereas in the charge-sheet it was mentioned Rs 2,68,358.


First Published: Monday, March 28, 2011, 19:06

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