Chennai: Google route map has comes to the rescue of a Regional Passport Officer and a woman travel agent arrested under corruption charges eight years ago by CBI.
Relying on Google route map, the IX Additional Special Court for CBI cases, Chennai, has acquitted them from charges and also pointed out series of glaring goof ups in the arrest and prosecution.
While acquitting them, judge G. Vijayalakshmi said the tainted investigation and the unfair chargesheet cannot be accepted by the court. The arrest of Regional Passport Officer (RPO), Sumathi Ravichandran, her husband Ravichandran, also a medical officer in Chennai corporation and two travel agents on charges of corruption on April 24, 2009 sent shock wave across the country.
The case pertains to Sumathi and Fathima Muzaffer, director of MS Ahmed World Travels, Tours and Cargo Ltd, T. Nagar. Sumathi served as a Regional Passport Officer, Chennai from July 13, 2005 to April 24, 2008 on deputation. She was entrusted with the work relating to issuance passport under the regular and tatkal provisions.
Fathima was dealing in submission of applications to passport authorities on behalf of applicants for passport and ticketing. CBI alleged that during 2008-09, Sumathi entered into a criminal conspiracy with Fathima and abused her official position to obtain pecuniary advantage against public interest by corrupt and illegal means.
She fraudulently and dishonestly facilitated Fathima in submitting and issuing passport to applicants under tatkal scheme. When arrested, Sumathi and Fathima denied allegations and advocate M. Krishnamurthy, who appeared for Sumathi and V.S. Venkatesh for the latter, vehemently opposed the prosecution.
Relying partly on the Google route map, the special judge acquitted them of charges. The judge’s contention was that P. Lakshmanan and his brother-in-law Hari could not have reached CBI office at the time specified even if they used the fastest route....