New Delhi: Observing that "big sharks" and "crocodiles" are being left scot free and petty officials harassed, the Supreme Court has quashed the conviction of a Government official accused of possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs 2.63 lakh.
A bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said that if possession of assets worth Rs 2.60 lakh is considered to be disproportionate, then every Government official ought to be convicted for corruption.
"You (Government) do not take action against the big sharks and crocodiles. They are allowed to go scot free. If possessing Rs 2.60 lakh is considered to be disproportionate to the known sources of income, then we may have to send every Government official to the jail," the bench remarked while quashing the one-year sentence and corruption case against Anantha Ramulu.
The apex court, however, clarified that it was quashing the conviction on "facts of the present case."
Ramulu, who was working was as a Junior Co-operative Inspector/Auditor in the State Cooperative Department at Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh, was sentenced by a special Anti-Corruption Bureau Court in September 2, 1996 to three years rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 20,000 for being in possession of assets worth Rs 2.60 lakh.
The court had also ordered confisication of two houses in the name of his wife which were directed to be sold and appropriated to the Government Treasury.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court on an appeal had on October 2, 2004, reduced the sentence to one year RI and also set aside the confisication order.
Ramulu appealed in the apex court through counsel Anamika Reddy and submitted that the courts below had calculated even his wife`s personal income and assets while arriving at his assets.
The apex court agreed with his plea and said that in the facts of the case, the appeal needs to be allowed and accordingly quashed the conviction.