NEW DELHI: A former official of the Central Water Commission (CWC), J P Sharma has been sentenced to four years in jail by a Delhi court for illegally getting issued official cheques in the name of his family members.
J P Sharma, 71, the then Deputy Director of CWC, was convicted for cheating and using forged documents as genuine under IPC and for offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on him saying Sharma "lacked total integrity and commitment to his own department."
The Special Judge, Mr Dharmesh Sharma, however, acquitted eight other accused, including the convict's wife, daughter and two sons, saying the convict violated the "sacred duties" towards his family and acted in a "diabolical manner in roping in his family members in the crime without their full knowledge".
"This case stands on a different footing. The convict J P Sharma was a husband, father, guardian and protector in a pious relationship of utter trust and faith with his family members but his conduct shows that he violated his sacred duties...So much so that they (Sharma's family members) have to undergo the ignominy of trial for about 8 years," the judge said.
The court said it appeared that in the entire sequence of events the poor wife, daughter and two sons had hardly any say and had been taken for a ride by him.
Besides the convict's four family members – Mr Trivesh Sharma, Mr Gyanender Sharma, Ms Pushpa Sharma and Ms Sunita Mishra, the court also let off four other CWC officials, Mr Y P Sharma, Mr Dominic Dung Dung, Mr S K Aggarwal and Mr N R Suman, all of whom were made accused in the case by CBI.
The judge said "I hold that it was a sinister ploy on the part of accused J P Sharma to use his family members in order to commit cheating and criminal misconduct and thereby derive pecuniary advantage." CBI had lodged a case in November 2002 on information that J P Sharma and other unnamed officials of CWC were conspiring and indulging in defalcation of government funds.
According to CBI, J P Sharma and the four officials of CWC, who were made accused in the case, got issued 12 cheques amounting to over Rs three lakh in the name of the then Deputy Director's wife, his daughter and two sons and other non-existing persons in lieu of the cheques earlier issued in favour of CWC employees. The probe agency said these cheques were deposited in bank accounts and the amount was withdrawn by J P Sharma and this was also in the knowledge of his family members.
During the trial of the case, J P Sharma argued he had not received any cheque on behalf of his family members and he had not played any role in the deposit of such cheques and withdrawal of the amount. The court, however, convicted him saying he had "adopted corrupt and illegal means in procuring 12 cheques from his department which he got deposited in the account of his family members, withdrawing the amount and thereby deriving pecuniary benefit."
The court also refused to take a lenient view towards the convict and observed the offence committed by him was of "serious nature".