Court accepts CBI's plea to close corruption case



New Delhi: A Delhi court has closed a graft case against three officials of State Trading Corporation of India (STC) and two firms, including one of Singapore, after the CBI said its probe has failed to produce evidence to prove the charges.

Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Jain dropped the case, accepting the CBI's closure report.

"As there is no evidence on record to establish a prima facie case against the accused, there is no other option but to close the case. Accordingly, the closure report filed by IO is accepted," the judge said.

The case pertained to the alleged loss of Rs 7.71 crore to the state in import of Black Matpe (Urad Dal) in 2007 in which STC's Chief Manager (Finance) B Venkataram, General Manager (Pulses) Samir Kaul and Deputy General Manager Durga Prasad Mishra and two firms, R Piyarelall Imports & Exports Ltd and Indo Sino Trade Pvt Ltd, were made accused.

After five years of investigation, the CBI sought closure of the case saying no oral or documentary evidence regarding criminal conspiracy among the public servants and companies and abuse of official positions by STC officers could be established.

The CBI had lodged the case in December 2007 for offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It had alleged the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy during 2006-07 and the public servants abused their official position by showing undue favour to the two firms in procurement/import of Black Matpe (Urad Dal) which caused loss of Rs 7.71 crore to the exchequer. The CBI, in its closure report, said Singapore-based firm Indo Sino Trade Pvt Ltd was successful bidder for sale of Black Matpe (Urad whole) as it had quoted the lowest rate and similarly, Kolkata-based R Piyarelall Imports & Exports Ltd was the successful bidder as it had quoted highest rate to buy Black Matpe (Urad whole).

"No wrongful loss to the public exchequer or wrongful gain to the public servants or to the above companies was caused during the process of procurement and disbursement of goods. The officials of STC acted in ordinary course of their officials duties," the CBI said in its closure report.

The CBI had earlier alleged that NAFED, MMTC and PED had floated tenders for import of pulses by December 21, 2006 and to compete with them, STC also floated tenders on December 26, 2006 inviting quotations for Black Matpe (Urad) and other pulses for a minimum quantities of 5,000 MTs each per item.

The CBI had said after the bids for sale and purchase of pulses were received by STC, a negotiation committee of the three accused public servants was constituted and after negotiations, the two accused companies agreed to the negotiated price for the sale and purchase of pulses.

PTI