The CBI today sought stringent punishment for seven convicts, including four MCD officials, in a Delhi court which said it would tomorrow pronounce the sentence for conspiring to cause a loss of Rs 1.4 crore to the exchequer in the 2010 Commonwealth Games street lighting scam. Special CBI Judge Brijesh Garg heard arguments of the CBI prosecutor and counsel for the convicts on quantum of sentence and fixed the case for tomorrow to pronounce the order.
“Arguments on sentence heard. Defence counsel sought time to submit relevant judgments. Put up for pronouncement of quantum of sentence tomorrow,” the court said. This is the first case relating to the CWG scam which has been decided by the court.
During the arguments, CBI prosecutor Praneet Sharma contended that the convicts had caused a loss of over Rs 1.42 crore to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and maximum punishment of seven years should be awarded to them. Citing Supreme Court judgments, Sharma argued that a lenient view should not be taken by the court towards convicts especially in corruption cases.
The court had convicted MCD Superintendent Engineer D K Sugan, Executive Engineer O P Mahla, Accountant Raju V and the civic body’s tender clerk Gurcharan Singh, besides private firm Sweska Powertech Engineering Pvt Ltd, its Managing Director T P Singh and Director J P Singh who were illegally favoured in the award of street-lighting contract during the games.
They were held guilty for various offences including criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery of valuable security, forgery for purpose of cheating, using forged documents as genuine under the IPC and Section 13(1)(d)(criminal misconduct by public servant by corrupt means and abusing position) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Counsel for the six convicted persons sought leniency in punishment saying they had no criminal antecedents and have already spent around 11 months in jail during the trial. 52-year-old Sugan’s counsel said he was suffering from diabetes and has to support his family including a college-going daughter and a paralytic father. He said Sugan had bagged an award for constructing building in civic centre.
The counsel added that no departmental enquiry was pending against Sudan and he be given a lighter punishment. Similarly, advocate for Mahla said that no departmental enquiry and blame record was there against his client and he had received appreciation award in a slaughter house project.
Advocate P K Dubey, appearing for 53-year-old T P Singh and 48-year-old J P Singh, prayed that they be released on the period already spent by them behind bars, claiming it was they who had suffered loss and not the MCD. The court, in its 124-page judgement holding the accused gulity, said the testimonies of CBI witnesses successfully proved the prosecution case beyond a shadow of doubt, establishing that “all the accused persons had connived together and in pursuance to the common object of the criminal conspiracy, various illegal acts, were committed by them”.
“The testimonies of these witnesses and the documentary evidence on record has established, beyond a shadow of doubt that all the accused persons have willfully participated in the criminal conspiracy with a common object to increase the quoted amount in the tender document of accused M/s Sweska Powertech Engineers Pvt Ltd, with an object to avail the difference between the next higher amount…
“The amount was quoted by the second company M/s Spaceage Switchgears Ltd, without changing the overall status of accused M/s Sweska Powertech Engineers Pvt Ltd, as L1 and thereby causing undue pecuniary loss to MCD and corresponding pecuniary gain to accused M/s Sweska Powertech Engineers Pvt Ltd, and its directors,” the court said.
The street lighting scam is one of the ten corruption cases in the run up to the holding of the October 2010 mega sports event. The CBI had said in the charge sheet that tenders were invited by the civic agency in 2008 and various companies, including Sweska Powertech applied for it, while the MCD commissioner had approved only four companies.
As per the charge sheet, after opening of the tender and announcing of the rates by accused Sugan, certain cuttings and interpolations in the tender papers of Sweska were made and amount quoted by it was increased, which led to a loss of about Rs 1.43 crore to the state exchequer and corresponding wrongful gain to the accused.
The court had earlier termed Sugan, the senior-most official, as the “kingpin” of the conspiracy and had said the tenders were opened in his office on May 14, 2008, and he had allowed fudging of Sweska’s tender papers. It, however, had discharged Philips India officer Mehul Karnik, as it noted that the company initially participated in the tender process but ultimately did not submit the tender.