New Delhi: Former union minister PK Thungon, who was jailed for over four years by a court here in a corruption case, sought leniency in the sentence saying his sincere efforts helped in integrating Arunachal Pradesh with India.
Arguing over the quantum of sentence, the 68-year-old Thungon told Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Ajay Kumar Jain that he was the first chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh and "made sincere efforts to integrate Arunachal Pradesh with India".
He said because of his efforts, Hindi language was introduced in Arunachal Pradesh and it has had a great impact in integration of Arunachal Pradesh with India, and presently the people of the state can speak both Hindi and English.
"The constitutional amendments 73rd and 74th regarding Panchayati Raj came into existence because of my efforts," he said.
After listening to him, the court said: "You (Thungon) by face, nature and behaviour seem innocent", but that he indulged in bad company.
When Thungon said he was unable to say no to friends, the court said wrong friends can often lead people on the wrong path.
However, the court considered his submission and jailed him for four and a half years with a fine of Rs.10,000.
The court also handed three-and-half-year jail terms to two other convicts -- C. Sangit and Tali A.O. -- while another convict Mahesh Maheshwari was sentenced to jail for two and a half years.
Thungon and the others were held guilty of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery of valuable security, forgery for purpose of cheating and using as genuine a forged document under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Thungon, then minister of state for urban development and employment in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, along with the other accused, was involved in misappropriating money meant for an irrigation project in Nagaland.
According to the CBI, Thungon connived with officials of Nagaland`s irrigation and flood control department in placing a bogus order for sausage wire for a project during 1993-94.
Investigations revealed that no wire was supplied to the department but payments were made against bogus delivery. A case was registered against them in 1998.