Former union minister P K Thungon, who was facing prosecution for 21 years in an alleged disproportionate assets case, has been acquitted by a Special Court which said the CBI has failed to prove its case.
Special CBI Judge Pitamber Dutt absolved Thungon, former Minister of State in Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment, saying the prosecution has not succeeded in proving the offence against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Thungon, who in 1975 became the youngest Chief Minister at the age of 29 heading the Arunachal Pradesh government, was charged for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income to the tune of Rs 1,08,16,532 between June 1991 and April 1996 when he was the minister in the P V Narsimha Rao-led government at the Centre.
“I am of the considered view that the prosecution has failed to prove on record beyond reasonable doubt that accused P K Thungon was having disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 1,08,16,532 beyond his known sources of income for which he could not explain satisfactorily,” the judge said.
The court, in its 156-page judgement, said Thungon was having excess income of Rs 1.07 lakh after deducting the total assets found in his possession which he acquired during the check period.
During the trial, Thungon denied his involvement in the commission of offence and stated that he has been falsely implicated in this case.
Advocates Harsh Sharma and Vaibhavi Sharma, who appeared for Thungon, contended that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove charges against him and the material produced by CBI itself showed that Thungon’s income was much more than what is shown by in the charge sheet.
The counsel said that Thungon had sufficient income from horticulture and agriculture as well as from his dairy business, which has not been taken into consideration.
During the investigation of housing scam case against Thungon, CBI had searched his residential premises at Pandara Road, Yashwant Place, Sarvodaya Enclave in Delhi and his house in Arunachal Pradesh and found incriminating documents, alleging that these showed that he had acquired huge assets during the tenure of his ministership from June 1991 to 1996.
The prosecution had alleged that his total income earned from known sources during the check period was Rs 92,75,847 while his expenditure was Rs 58,99,631.
It had alleged that Thungon had acquired assets of over Rs 1.41 crore either in his own name or in the name of his family members. It had further claimed that his likely saving during that period was of Rs 33.76 crore whereas he was found possessing assets of Rs 1.41 crore.
It alleged the disproportionate assets possessed by him beyond his known sources of income was of Rs 1.08 crore for which he could not render any satisfactory explanation.
Earlier, Thungon was discharged by the trial court on January 24, 2005 after which CBI filed an appeal before the Delhi High Court which had directed framing of charges against him. The trial court then framed charges against him in July 2013 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
( Source – PTI )