Former Bihar minister Iliyas Hussain acquitted in bitumen scam case
After hearing arguments of both sides, a special CBI court acquitted Iliyas Hussain and four others. It, however, sentenced Kolkata-based transporter Krishna Kumar Kedia to three years of rigorous imprisonment in the Rs 200-crore bitumen scam.india Updated: May 24, 2017 18:08 IST
A designated CBI court in Patna acquitted former Bihar minister and senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Mohammad Iliyas Hussain, along with four others, in the two decades old multi-crore bitumen scam.
After hearing arguments of both sides, special CBI judge Sarvjeet acquitted Hussain, a sitting RJD MLA from Dehri-on-Sone in southwest Bihar, besides three officers — Mohammed Mujtaba Ahmed, Shobha Sinha and Ramadhar Thakur as well as transporter Praveen Jhharia — for lack of evidence.
However, the court sentenced Kolkata-based transporter Krishna Kumar Kedia to three years of rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 4.5 lakh on him for his role in the scam. CBI’s special public prosecutor AH Khan told reporters that Kedia would have to serve additional 18 months in prison if he failed to deposit the fine amount.
Kedia had earlier been convicted in two separate cases by the special CBI court in the Rs 200-crore bitumen scam.
There were eight accused in the case. One accused Janardan Sharma, then PWD director, had died during the trial period, while another accused had turned approver.
The case relates to forgery in purchase of bitumen worth Rs 39 lakh in public works department’s (now renamed as road construction department) Supaul division, 250 km northeast of state capital, Patna, in 1997.
The CBI, which took over the probe on Patna high court’s order, had submitted chargesheet in the case against Hussain, then PWD minister in Bihar, and other accused following registration of an FIR in 1997. The premier probe agency had arrested Hussain on November 5, 1999, but he was later enlarged on bail.
CBI sources, meanwhile, claimed that more bitumen scam cases were pending against Hussain in CBI courts of Ranchi, Dhanbad and Patna.
Charged with siphoning off Rs 55 lakh, Hussain and his wife Salma Khatoon were also accused in a disproportionate assets case, an offshoot of bitumen scam, the CBI sources said.
They said Hussain had been charged with ordering bitumen supplies without valid demand or proper requisition and empanalleing tainted Kedia and other transporters even though they were facing departmental investigations and were about to be blacklisted by the road construction department.