New Delhi: Deterrent punishment should be given to corrupt public servants as graft has become a deep-rooted problem in society, a city court has said while awarding three-year jail term to a former government official in a disproportionate assets case.
Special CBI Judge Bhupesh Kumar handed down the jail term to Diwakar Sharma, an ex-Under Secretary with the Science and Technology Ministry, for amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 32.42 lakh between 1995 and 2005, noting that he had acquired these through "ill gotten means".
"As contended by CBI, nowadays corruption is deep rooted problem in society which affect the interest of common people and development of nation. So no undue leniency should be given to the corrupt public servant and they should be awarded punishment to have deterrent effect on other public servants," the judge observed while granting the sentence.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs five lakh on Sharma, which he has paid, and forfeited his amassed assets.
"The prosecution has proved that convict Diwakar Sharma was in possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 32,42,360 to his known source(s) of income. In view of the above findings, it is apparent that convict acquired these assets from ill-gotten means.
"In these circumstances, it is directed that assets involved in this matter of convict Diwakar Sharma be forfeited to the State," the court said while holding him guilty under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
The court, however, granted interim bail to Sharma till December 2, 2016 after he moved an application seeking suspension of sentence to file an appeal in higher court.
The court, while awarding the sentence, considered his medical record which showed him to be a chronic patient of Sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease) and sometimes advised to be on oxygen. It also noted that his salary was stopped by his office in September, 2004.
According to the CBI, Sharma was found possessing assets worth Rs 41 lakh between the check period of 1995 and 2005, his income was valued at Rs 34.41 lakh and his expenses were found to be Rs 25.83 lakh.
It was also alleged that income of his wife, who was working as a teacher in an NDMC school in South Delhi, was Rs 10,000 at the beginning of the check period but at the end of the period it was valued at Rs 31.41 lakh.
The CBI filed a charge sheet against Sharma in 2007 after sanction to prosecute him was obtained.
The accused, who was serving as Under Secretary since 1978 and was suspended during trial, had denied all allegations levelled against him.