Housing scam: Delhi court acquits ex-minister Thungon

 Former union minister P K Thungon, facing trial for 21 years in a corruption case relating to allotment of government quarters, has been acquitted by a special court which said the CBI has failed to prove that he abused his official position.

Besides 71-year-old Thungon, the court also acquitted 14 others, including several government officials, in the case while three accused died during the trial.

Special CBI Judge Kamini Lau held that the prosecution has not been able to prove that Thungon, the then minister of State (MoS) for Urban Development, had abused his official position and directly entertained applications for out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation.

The court, in its 440-page judgement, said the CBI has also failed to prove that he had used as genuine forged application forms wherein forgery relating to particulars of quarter, scale of pay and date of priority were made by conspirators.

During the trial, former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Thungon had claimed that he was innocent and had been falsely implicated being a victim of political vendetta and that he had not violated any rules while discharging his duties.

He further said that he was a senior citizen and have been forced to live in Delhi away from his native place Arunachal Pradesh for last over 22 years due to this case.

All other accused had also pleaded innocence in the case.

The court said there was insufficient material to hold accused Thungon, Varinder Arora, T T Kumarasamay (personal staff of minister), Nima Tshering (ex-MLA of Arunachal Pradesh), Umesh Joshi, Vijaya Daksh, Ved Prakash Kaushik, Sunil Khosla, Roshan Lal Rana, Mahender Singh, Shiv Prasad, Vir Bhan, Chandan Singh Rana, Narender Dhyani and Raj Kumar Joshi guilty of the charges.

It said accused Ashok Kumar Gupta, Narender Kumar Sabharwal and Surati Lal Yadav died during the trial and the proceedings against them were abated.

According to records, the case was lodged in 1996, a charge sheet was filed by CBI in 2003 and charges for the alleged offences of forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption were framed in 2009.

Thungon along with others was facing trial for alleged irregularities in allotment of government quarters. A graft case was then lodged by the CBI against 18 people.

According to the CBI, during 1993-95, when Thungon was the Minister of State of Urban Development, he along with other accused had allegedly subverted the entire system of allotment of residential houses to government servants.

It was alleged that out-of-turn allotments was being made in such large numbers and for such a long period that this system had virtually replaced the official prescribed norms.

The court said the prosecution has not been able to prove that all the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy to obtain wrongful gain for themselves out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation by forging the applications.

It said the CBI had failed to prove that “any of the accused had exercised their influence over Thungon for getting the out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation sanctioned” and the public servants had abused their official position or had obtained any illegal gratification.

The court said the documents showed that Thungon had written “may be allotted” which does not mean any direction to the Directorate of Estates to allot the quarters illegally or in violation of the rules and norms as alleged by the CBI.

Ex-minister P K Thungon acquitted in 21-yr-old DA case

Ex-minister P K Thungon acquitted in 21-yr-old DA case
Ex-minister P K Thungon acquitted in 21-yr-old DA case

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 )