A special court has awarded one year jail term to an MCD’s junior engineer and his wife, working as a government school teacher in New Delhi, for amassing assets worth Rs 72 lakh disproportionate to their known sources of income in a 16-year-old case. Special Judge Vinod Kumar handed over the punishment to Raja Som Sehrawat, who was working as Junior Engineer, MCD, South Zone, and his wife Urmil Sehrawat, who was working as a TGT teacher in the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT, Delhi.
“I hold that accused 1 (Raja) and accused 2 (Urmil) were having assets disproportionate to the tune of Rs 72 lakh, as compared to their known sources of income… I sentence the convicts to rigorous imprisonment for one year,” the court said while directing confiscation of the amount from the convicts. In its order, the court said that although they had examined witnesses, shown the windfalls in their income tax returns (IRTs) and intimated the department, that was not sufficient.
“It appears to be a case where accused started laundering unlawful money in a very calculated manner by carefully showing it in ITRs and by creating necessary paper work… “In the present case, the court cannot ignore that all the gifts are being made to the accused persons in very weird way, which is not generally seen in the human relations,” it said. It said that the manner in which huge cash was being accepted and cheque was being issued or vice-versa, were a proof that some other activity than which was lawful for a public servant, was being carried out by both the duo.
“Where there is a ‘windfall’, the burden is higher upon the public servant to prove the same convincingly. When there are frequent ‘windfalls’ occurring to the public servants, the court will have no option but to reject such claims lock, stock and barrel,” the judge said.
CBI had claimed that during the search conducted at the residential premises of the duo in Vasant Kunj area in August 2000, assets to the tune of around Rs 80.42 lakh disproportionate to their known sources of income were found. Thereafter, a case was registered under the sections of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The agency had also arrayed Raja’s father, who had retired in December 1990 as superintendent from Indian Airlines. However, he died during the pendency of the case and the proceedings against him were abated.