Corruption charges framed against SDM, others

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 20: Additional Sessions Judge Anticorruption Udhampur SC Katal has framed corruption charges against Abdul Majid Bhat, the then forester, Mohd Hanief Malik, then SDM Mahore, Vijay Kumar Sharma, the then Naib Tehsildar Arnas and Abdul Rashid, the then Patwari.
After hearing APP Himanshu Kumar, the court observed, “the allegations are that in order to confer undue pecuniary advantage to the complainant and his sons the accused forwarded the fictitious compensation case prepared by the co-accused and issued a letter No. SDM/CR/D/373 dated 9.03.2009 to the Konkan Railways Reasi and Project Manager for release of payment of Rs 3,91,822.50 as mentioned in the fictitious report prepared by Abdul Rashid”.
“The report was counter signed by Naib Tehsildar, Vijay Kumar Sharma. The accused Abdul Majid Bhat, Forester being incharge of forest block Kanthan very much knowing the facts willfully kept silent and prepared the assessment report in favour of the complainant party, as such, he is conspirator with officials of the Revenue Department and all the officers have misused their official position to confer undue benefits to the complainant parties in lieu of extracting bribe money”, the court said.
“It may be the defence available during trial of case to one accused that he had recently joined as SDM Mahore was not part of any conspiracy and in good faith he had forwarded the assessment report to the Konkan Railways for release of fund. The possible defence available to another accused cannot be taken into consideration at the stage of framing charge unless the clinching evidence is brought on the record/file to prove that there is no evidence against him and he has been wrongly implicated in the case”, the court further said.
“Since, the case in hand was an old compensation case therefore, it was required for the accused to remain more vigilant and satisfy himself that why the compensation case has remained pending and why his predecessor-in-office has not forwarded the case for release of compensation but the accused did not took any step to verify the genuineness of compensation case thereby, abused his official position by forwarding the fictitious compensation case for release of compensation”, the court said.
“Moreover, it has come in the statement of witnesses that accused Abdul Rashid had already demanded and received Rs 60000 cash and other edible items & further demanded Rs one lakh more for other officials. Therefore, grave suspicion exists that accused (the then SDM Mahore) was also in league with co-accused and had forwarded the fictitious compensation case to Konkan Railways for release of compensation in favour of complainant party”, the court said.
“Therefore, prima facie case is made out for framing charge against all the accused persons. Hence, accused Abdul Majid Bhat, then Forester and Abdul Rashid, then Patwari are charged for the commission of offence under Section 5(1) (d) and 5 (2) PC Act read with Section 161/467/468/471/120-B RPC & accused Mohd Hanief Malik, then SDM Mahore and Vijay Kumar Sharma, then Naib Tehsildar Arnas are charged for commission of offence under Section 5(1) (d) and 5 (2) P. C. Act read with Section 120-B RPC”, the court said.