CBI gets time to file submissions

NEW DELHI, Oct 4: A special court here has granted six weeks to the CBI to submit its arguments seeking closure of a corruption case against Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and two others for sanctioning Rs 50 lakh grant to a trust allegedly in a fraudulent manner in 2001.
Special Judge Sunil Rana allowed a CBI plea seeking time to file written submissions, certain judgments in support of its closure report and against a protest petition against that report filed by the complainant.
The court allowed the CBI’s plea for adjournment and posted the matter for December 14 after the application was not objected to by the complainant.
The CBI’s report seeking closure of the case was last year opposed by complainant V M Singh, who had filed a protest petition against agency’s report.
The court had in 2008 refused to accepted the closure report filed by the probe agency and asked the CBI to further investigate the matter.
However, the CBI had again approached the court, saying the “allegations levelled against Gandhi and two others could not be substantiated”. An FIR was lodged by CBI in 2006 against Maneka Gandhi, now the Women and Child Development Minister, Dr F U Siddiqui, former secretary of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) and Dr Vijay Sharma, former Managing Trustee of Gandhi Rural Welfare Trust (GRWT).
The FIR had alleged that Gandhi, in conspiracy with Siddiqui, had sanctioned a grant of Rs 50 lakh to GRWT from MAEF in an irregular manner to construct a nursing college building at Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh and caused undue favour to Sharma.
CBI had alleged that another amount of Rs 10.40 lakh was sanctioned to GRWT by S K Verma, the then District Magistrate of Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, from Gandhi’s MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds for purchase of two ambulances. The fund was released to GRWT Managing Trustee Ramakant Rampal.
The agency had filed a closure report, saying “during the course of further investigation, the allegations levelled against Maneka Gandhi, Dr F U Siddiqui and Dr Vijay Sharma could not be substantiated.” In its closure report, CBI said the trust had purchased two jeeps with ambulance fixtures on September 15, 2003 for Rs 9,85,008, while the balance amount was returned to the government exchequer as per the terms of sanction. (PTI)
“As such no financial irregularity could be pointed out in the matter of purchase of ambulances and the change in vehicle model was found to be on justified grounds,” it said. (PTI)