A special CBI court has sentenced a former president of West Delhi’s Bhairon Mandir Samiti to seven years’ imprisonment after holding him guilty of using religious land for commercial purposes, and held that the convict “played with religious and pious sentiments of the people of the country”.
The court also convicted two junior engineers of DDA in the 2003 case that was probed by the CBI.
Special Judge Jitendra Kumar Mishra convicted Dharamvir Khattar, the then president of the Bhairon Mandir Samiti, of cheating, criminal conspiracy and under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court observed that based on the evidence on record, Khattar provided “illegitimate” luxuries such as “wine and women” to his customers in a hotel built on the religious land provided to the Bhairon Mandir Samiti.
The court sentenced the then junior engineers, M K Sharma and K M Johri, to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. The CBI had alleged Khattar entered into a criminal conspiracy with the DDA officials for using the premises of Bhairon Mandir Samiti to build the hotel.
“… Dharamvir Khattar has applied his sharp mind how to make hole to break the law… In fact, he was using the premises for carrying out the hotel business by providing facilities such as well furnished rooms with AC, TV and other amenities… It has also come in evidence before the court that C-1 (Khattar) provided all sorts of luxuries be it legitimate or illegitimate such as wine and women to his customers/visitors,” the court observed, while passing the detailed order last week.
“The policy of the Welfare State is to flourish religious harmony amongst its subjects. But in the name of running such religious institution/Dharamshala, C-1 (Khattar) has not only blatantly flouted every rule… but also played with religious and pious sentiments of people of the state/country,” the court added.
The CBI court also observed that the convicted DDA officials “flouted all the laws” to “amass maximum ill gotten wealth of their illegal designs”.
“Great scholars of the country Chanakya and Vidur have mentioned in old testaments that if servant of the king becomes corrupt then integrity of the State would be at threat. Here servants of the King would be C-2 and C-3 ( Sharma and Johri) as they were getting salary from the State…”
The court directed Khattar to pay the profit he made to the state. It also ordered the two convicted officials to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh each.