Court to consider plea against CBI closure report in Maneka case

manekaA special court would next month consider a protest petition against CBI’s move to close a case against Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and two others for sanctioning Rs 50 lakh grant to a trust allegedly in a “fraudulent” manner in 2001.

Special CBI Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna today heard arguments by complainant V M Singh, who has filed the protest petition, and fixed the matter for December one for further proceedings.

The complainant contended that the court should not accept CBI’s closure report as it has been wrongly filed.

The court had in 2008 refused to accept the closure report filed by the probe agency and asked CBI to further investigate the matter.

However, CBI had again approached the court, saying the “allegations levelled against Gandhi and two others could not be substantiated”.

An FIR was lodged by CBI in 2006 against Maneka Gandhi, now the Women and Child Development Minister, Dr F U Siddiqui, former secretary of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) and Dr Vijay Sharma, former Managing Trustee of Gandhi Rural Welfare Trust (GRWT).

It had alleged that Gandhi, in conspiracy with Siddiqui, had sanctioned a grant of Rs 50 lakh to GRWT from MAEF in an irregular manner to construct a nursing college building at Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh and caused undue favour to Sharma.

CBI alleged that another amount of Rs 10.40 lakh was sanctioned to GRWT by S K Verma, the then District Magistrate of Pilibhit, from Gandhi’s MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds for purchase of two ambulances.

Fund was released to GRWT Managing Trustee Ramakant Rampal.

It had alleged that Rampal had purchased two jeeps which had cost much less than the approved models and failed to get them certified by the chief medical officer. The vehicles were also used for personal work by the managing trustee.

The agency had again filed a closure report, saying “during the course of further investigation, the allegations levelled against Maneka Gandhi, Dr F U Siddiqui and Dr Vijay Sharma could not be substantiated.”

“It is, therefore, prayed that the closure report dated December 30, 2008, collectively read with this report, may kindly be accepted,” it said. The final report is pending in the court.

The FIR in the case was lodged for the alleged offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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