Nearly 14 years after being booked by UT vigilance department, UT's former chief engineer KK Jerath, 67, along with six former officials of the UT administration, was acquitted after the prosecution failed to prove the corruption charges against them.
District and sessions judge SK Aggarwal acquitted all the seven former officials, including Jerath, who all these years had been maintaining that they had been implicated.
Besides Jerath, those acquitted are JK Gandhi former junior engineer, JC Gilhotra (72) former superintending engineer, CJ Rai (67), Harjinder Singh (67) and AS Gulati (64) former executive engineers, and VK Narula (65) chief draftsman.
The case was registered by the UT vigilance in 1999 when the UT engineering department was in the dock for inviting tenders for underground cables over and above the prevailing market price. It was alleged that the allocation of tenders was not done at the market price and by doing so the officials had caused losses running into lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer.
UT vigilance department had registered a case under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 511 (attempt to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code along with various sections of prevention of corruption act.
As per the prosecution theory, tenders were invited for laying underground cables from Sector 21 to Sector 34 by the UT administration at a price of `43.5 lakh. It was alleged that the market price of these cables was `24 lakh and thus the engineers caused a loss to the government.
Speaking to HT after the acquittal, Jerath's counsel Terminder Singh, said, “Jerath was targeted and falsely implicated due to his ongoing rift with the then UT home secretary, Anuradha Gupta. The acquittal reiterated what we had been saying all these years.”
Three cases still pending against Jerath
There are a total of six cases registered against Jerath. While he has earlier been acquitted in a case, he was also convicted by the CBI court in 2009 in a disproportionate assets case and sentenced to three years in jail, while three other cases against him are pending.
March 16, 1999: UT vigilance department book Jerath and six others for criminal breach of trust
August 31, 2012: Charges framed
October 4, 2013: All acquitted